Maybe brand recognition isn’t always such a good thing – especially when you are one of the most hated companies on the planet. Monsanto has a new marketing plan, though. The company’s latest GMO cotton seed will be sold in India under the brand name Deltapine.
This isn’t the first time that Monsanto has hidden the extent of its seed monopoly by hiding behind other company names. Monsanto currently owns 100% of the Indian subsidiary operating under the ‘Paras Brahma.’ The GMO cotton seeds sold under this front were once delivered to struggling farmers under Emergent Genetics India Ltd, a firm Monsanto acquired more than a decade ago.
Jesus Madrazo, Vice-President (Corporate Engagement) of the St Louis, Missouri-headquartered company told Business Line:
“The introduction of the Deltapine brand from this year shows our commitment to growing the cotton hybrid seeds business in India.”
There is no plan, though, to phase out the ‘Paras Brahma’ brand. Instead, Monsanto looks to increase its current 4% market share of the estimated 45 million-packets-a-year Indian cotton hybrids seeds market.
Monsanto competes with Nuziveedu Seeds, Kaveri Seeds, Mahyco, Ajeet Seeds, Ankur Seeds, DCM Shriram Bioseed and Rasi Seeds, but all of these companies use Monsanto’s proprietary ‘Bollgard’ insecticide which is supposed to work with their GMO hybrid seeds. Companies pay Monsanto a 20% trait fee which amounts to about 20% of the retail price for seed.
The introduction of the ‘Deltapine’ brand is just Monsanto’s latest tactic to increase the use of patented Bollgard technology through licensing, as well as expand its direct marketing routes for GM cotton in India.
Monsanto India Ltd and MHPL, and American patents are currently responsible for cornering 72% of the Indian GMO corn market. If cotton is next, we should be extremely concerned for Indian farmers. Bt cotton has already been linked to numerous Indian farmer suicides, though Monsanto will deny it.
“Monsanto’s concentrated control over the seed sector in India as well as across the world is very worrying. This is what connects farmers’ suicides in India to Monsanto vs Percy Schmeiser in Canada, to Monsanto vs Bowman in the US, and to farmers in Brazil suing Monsanto for $2.2 billion for unfair collection of royalty.”