In landmark ruling, NGOs intervene at South Africa’s Competition Tribunal to avoid takeover of South Africa’s seed industry.
Biowatch was notified on Friday 20th August that it has been granted leave to intervene in the matter before the Competition Tribunal concerning the merger of Pioneer Hi-Bred International and Pannar (Pty.) Ltd. The African Centre for Biosafety was also granted intervention rights in this matter. This is the first time in the court’s history that NGOs are allowed to appear and make statements in a case, which highlights what is at stake. The merger involves the takeover of South Africa’s largest remaining seed company, Pannar, by the US multinational Pioneer, which is part of DuPont Inc. Pannar operates in 17 African countries, as well as in Argentina and the USA. If the merger is permitted the seed supply of South Africa’s main food crops would be controlled by two US owned seed companies.
The merger was initially rejected by the Competition Commission in December 2010. Biowatch provided inputs to that process and was cited in the ruling. This decision was appealed and the matter is set down to be heard by the Competition Tribunal in September 2011. The loss of Pannar would remove South Africa’s last remaining major seed company from the market. This would mean the country’s food supply would effectively be controlled by two US corporations, Pioneer and Monsanto.
Rose Williams from Biowatch stated, “The merger will reduce competition within the seed sector to the extent that it will make entry into the seed industry impossible for any new entrant. It will also remove South Africa’s only major seed company from the international market, increasing consolidation within the seed industry with serious negative potential consequences for the country’s employment, food security and food sovereignty.”
Biowatch looks forward to participating fully in this case and welcomes public support.
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