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Use of transgenic seeds in Brazilian agriculture and concentration of agricultural production to large agribusinesses

Author(s): C.D. Marinho, F.J.O. Martins, A.T. Amaral Júnior, L.S.A. Gonçalves, S.C.S. Amaral and M.P. de Mello

We identified the commercial releases of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Brazil, their characteristics, the types of genetic transformation used, and the companies responsible for the development of these GMOs, classifying them into two categories: private companies, subdivided into multinational and national, and public institutions. The data came from the data bank of the national registration of cultivars and the service of national protection of cultivars of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fishing and Supply (MAPA). This survey was carried out from 1998 to February 12, 2011. Until this date, 27 GMOs had been approved, including five for soybean, 15 for maize and seven for cotton cultivars. These GMOs have been used for the development of 766 cultivars, of which, 305 are soybean, 445 are maize, and 13 are cotton cultivars. The Monsato Company controls 73.2% of the transgenic cultivars certified by the MAPA; a partnership between Dow AgroSciences and DuPont accounts for 21.4%, and Syngenta controls 4.96%. Seed supply by these companies is almost a monopoly supported by law, giving no choice for producers and leading to the fast replacement of conventional cultivars by transgenic cultivars, which are expensive and exclude small producers from the market, since seeds cannot be kept for later use. This situation concentrates production in the hands of a few large national agribusiness entrepreneurs.