Here’s one for the history books, and a slap on the wrist for stock-holders like Bill Gates and George Soros. Monsanto stock has been downgraded to ‘Neutral’ from ‘Buy’ after an annual seed dealer industry survey showed bleak returns.
This may be the most depressing news in seven years for Monsanto, but great news for the seed industry, which has been monopolized by the chemical peddler since the early 1990’s. The target price for (MON +0.1%) has been lowered from $140 to $127. Conditions affecting the downgrade include “greater discounting, reduced trait purchases, reduced spending on seeds, and share gains for non-major seeds brands” – with hardly a mention of the grass-roots, and international efforts of people to shine a light on Monsanto’s illegal influence on the world seed market.
“We are downgrading Monsanto from Buy to Neutral, due to the findings from our seventh Annual Seed Dealer Survey, which came back the most negative for the seed industry in the history of the survey,” Chris Shaw of Monness Crespi Hardt wrote. “The unprecedented results of this year’s survey has led us to be more cautious on Monsanto’s outlook for the current seed selling season.”
The firm who conducted the survey said the 50-plus dealers who responded are seeing challenging industry conditions – including greater discounting as a second straight year of significantly lower farm profits forces farmers to watch their spending closely, including on seeds. Could this be due to the outright false advertising by Monsanto that their GMO seeds would increase yields and be impervious to glyphosate and other herbicides?
Or what about the complete failure of Bt crops, designed to withstand the use of Monsanto’s favorite product – RoundUp? Indian farmers went belly-up trying to plant Monsanto seeds, causing an epidemic of suicides across the country. When Bt cotton started to fail, Big Biotech tried to blame the farmers. Come again?
US farmers are also complaining that biotech seeds are becoming much too expensive, resistant to weed killer, and can contaminate conventional seed crops.
Doug Gurian-Sherman, author of a 2009 study for the Union of Concerned Scientists comments on the failed promises of GM seeds to outperform conventional seeds:
“The technology has really been hyped up a lot. Even on a shoestring, conventional breeding outperforms genetic engineering.”
Hopefully this will spawn a new financial front against Monsanto as hedge fund managers and insider traders start dumping devalued Monsanto stock. Want to defeat the biotech hydra? Start with Wall Street.