Monsanto, the world’s largest producer of genetically modified seeds and of America’s most-used herbicide RoundUp, is finally showing signs of breaking. Earlier this year, the company was named Company of the Year by Forbes Magazine. Forbes has since apologized1for that award while stock market commentator Jim Cramer has named Monsanto to be “the worst stock of 2010.”
So what’s happening to the GMO Giant?
Several things are happening at once, bringing the powerful company down to earth. First, Monsanto’s best-selling product, RoundUp (glyphosate), has seen its patent run out. This means cheaper competition, especially in large, foreign markets like Asia.2Second, the company is also seeing many of its core seed buyers turning to other sources because of the growing threat of RoundUp-resistantcrops.
The second problem is looming so large that theGMOmega-company is actually payingfarmersto use competitor’s herbicides. They’re offering incentives to soybean and cotton growers: the two crops with the worst infestations.3
The rise of these Roundup-resistant “superweeds” in the American South and the Corn Belt – two areas whereMonsantohas held a stranglehold on crop diversity – has caused growers to begin questioning the merits of RoundUp Ready (or Herbicide Tolerant/HT-ready) crops. This is the core of Monsanto’s customer base and it’s faltering.
This leaves Monsanto with few things to offer. Their one-time standing as one of Big Agra’s biggest movers and shakers is withering away. Their latest products are just more of the same; they offer nothing new to replace their dominant seed varieties that have been the core of the company’s sales – in tandem with the soon-to-be-defunct RoundUpherbicide. In their latest report to investors, Monsanto admitted (in so many words) that in order to stay competitive, they will have to start slashing prices. A first for the GM titan.
In what appears to be a move to bring diversity to its holdings, Monsanto has quietly purchased a controlling share of Xe Services. Xe Services is the new name for what used to be called Blackwater. In a clear case of Evil consolidating with Evil, the world’s largest producer of genetically modifiedfoodcrops has teamed up with the world’s largest producer of private corporate terrorism. Interestingly enough, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation purchased a huge number of shares in Monsanto ($23 million worth).4Another case of Evil consolidation, maybe?
With all of this, the GMO corporation’s losses are still large. Their stocks have dropped by 42% this year. Add to that the (likely to be whitewashed) Justice Department investigation into Monsanto’s alleged anti-trust violations and the company’s attempts to gain footholds in the European agricultural markets blocked by those who oppose GM foods, and you begin to see the cracks in the wall.
The future isn’t looking so bright for Monsanto anymore. We may be witnessing the beginning of the death knell that finally brings the anti-food giant to its knees.
1 –Forbes Was Wrong on Monsanto.. Really WrongForbes Blogs
2 –After Growth, Fortunes Turn for Monsantoby Andrew Pollack, New York Times
3 –Monsanto paying farmers to increase herbicide useby Philip Brasher, Desmoines Register Blog
4 –Machines of War: Blackwater, Monsanto, and Bill Gatesby Silvia Ribeiro, Pravda