Monsanto is one of the most powerful players in the global seed business today. Not only does it own a huge portion of the world’s commercial seed, but it also wields a lot of power over global agricultural policy and practice. How did a company that started out by making chemicals for warfare, gain control of our food?

Monsanto operates in 80 countries worldwide, nine of which are in Africa. In South Africa, Monsanto controls half of the maize seed market and is in complete control of the genetically modified (GM) maize seed market. This notorious company has tremendous power over the farmers that produce our staple food.

Monsanto was founded in 1901, but really came into its own after the Second World War when it established itself as a chemical giant with strong links to the US military. It was Monsanto’s chemical Agent Orange that was used to strip forest away in the Vietnam war, leaving a legacy of health problems and birth defects that persist today. Another well-known Monsanto chemical, RoundUp, was sprayed over the Columbian countryside in the US “war on drugs”.

Read the fact sheet here.