Drivers of Consolidation in the Seed Industry and its Consequences for Innovation

Research reports | 29.03.2011 | CGM 2011-01

The key question posed by the Commission on Genetic Modification (COGEM) for this study was whether the plant breeding sector worldwide is monopolised by large multinationals due to the application of genetic modification, and if so, what might be the possible consequences for innovation in this sector? To answer this question, a triangular study approach was chosen, in which: 1) the relevant literature was reviewed; 2) interviews were held with eleven top executives from the seed industry for a perspective from ‘within’, and; 3) an economic assessment was conducted to examine the relationship of industry concentration, market power and innovation in three US seed markets where genetically modified (GM) seeds have been broadly used, namely, cotton, soybean and maize. The findings from these three different types of analyses were then compared and synthesised, providing answers to the study’s key question.

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