Mergers are being entered at all levels of the agrifood value chain.
Photo: Janiss/


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Ever fewer corporations are gaining a constantly increasing share of global food production. This could jeopardise the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015, non-governmental organisations warn and call for stricter regulations in the agricultural and food sector.

The market power of major corporations operating in the area of food production is continuously increasing. The reason for this is that mergers are being entered at all levels of the value chain – from the manufacturing of farming machinery through seed and fertiliser production to the food industry and trade. In the last two years alone, five of the twelve most capital-intensive takeovers of listed corporations occurred in the agriculture and food sector. This is referred to in “Konzernatlas 2017”, a publication presented by the Heinrich Böll Foundation together with the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation and the NGOs Oxfam, BUND and Germanwatch in Berlin, Germany, in January 2017.

Concentrated market power through mergers

Examples include the corporations Deere & Company (USA), CNH (Niederlande) and AGCO (USA), which hold more than 50 per cent of the world market for agricultural engineering products. Seventy per cent of trade in agricultural commodities such as wheat, maize and soy, sugar, palm oil and rice is in the hands of four mega- businesses: the US companies Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Bunge and Cargill, and the Dutch enterprise Louis Dreyfus.

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