The world needs more food from a relatively fixed amount of farm land–and seed technology is the likeliest fix for the problem. Monsanto created the global seed market–for better (if you’ve been a shareholder) or worse (if you’re a subsistence farmer in Africa)–and now dominates it. The key here is a research and development budget that equals 10% of sales as it turns out a steady stream of new products: modified seeds, disease resistant seeds, herbicide resistant seeds. Monsanto has gradually strengthened its hold on the market by buying up the best of the smaller seed companies. Its DeKalb corn seed brand now controls 23% of the North American corn seed market, for example, up from 10% in 2001.
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