Latest developments in seed markets: new OECD report released this week

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This OECD report provides an in-depth assessment of structural changes in global markets for seed and biotechnology based on new data on market concentration across a broad range of countries and crops, and considers potential policy responses.

Recent mergers in the seed industry have led to concerns about market concentration and its potential effects on prices, product choice, and innovation. This study provides new and detailed empirical evidence on the degree of market concentration in seed and GM technology across a broad range of crops and countries, and analyses the causes and potential effects of concentration. It also explains how competition authorities have responded to mergers, and suggests policy options to help safeguard and stimulate competition and innovation in plant breeding by avoiding unnecessary regulatory barriers, by facilitating access to genetic resources and intellectual property, as well as by stimulating public and private R&D. As this study shows, policy makers have several levers besides competition policy to ensure an innovative and competitive seed industry.

This report also outlines a number of recommendations to policy makers to stimulate competition and innovation in the seed sector. These recommendations are very much in line with ESA's positions:

  • Competitive and innovative seed markets are essential for sustainable productivity growth in agriculture. However, recent mergers have led to concerns about market concentration.
  • Market concentration in seed varies strongly across crops and countries but is typically higher for genetically modified (GM) technology.
  • Besides competition policy, several policy options exist to stimulate competition and innovation in seed markets.

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