Seed sector consolidation and innovation deconstructed

Long story short, I don’t think there is sufficient evidence so far to support the claim that increasing concentration in seed markets reduces innovation. I’m not saying it is impossible; just that the evidence so far does not show it…

Well, that’s a turn up for the books. Koen Deconinck’s OECD study explaining why the recent Civil Eats story making that claim may be wrong is just out, but that quote comes from a Twitter thread which starts with this

and that you can see conveniently unspooled here.

One Reply to “Seed sector consolidation and innovation deconstructed”

  1. I have not read the entire OECD study so forgive me for what I may miss. But from the unspooled thread, it feels like Koen Deconinck misses important points. First, we have to agree on how we define innovation — is an increase or decrease in GM field trials a good proxy for levels of innovation? I am concerned not just with levels of innovation — however we choose to define that word (which relates to your earlier comment, Luigi, about the review of extension services still being a review of extension to farmers and not a collaboration amongst different types of innovators, including farmers, and innovations) but with the effect of corporate concentration on:

    • the type and direction of innovation (who is investing and in what),
    • ownership, control, choice,
    • power and inequality.

    Even if we were to miraculously all agree that these big guys are innovative that does not mean they are behaving in ways that promote or at least do not hurt the public welfare. Corporate concentration allows an exertion of power vertically up and down supply chains and not just in this sector. And unfortunately, powerful, concentrated corporate power increasingly set the rules of the game affecting any kind of true democratic accountability. And it is not just agriculture

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