Concentration in Seed Markets

Potential Effects and Policy Responses

image of Concentration in Seed Markets

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 chapter introduces the main themes of the study. A competitive and innovative seed industry plays an important role in increasing agricultural productivity. In recent years, mergers and acquisitions have led to a further consolidation in an already highly concentrated industry, which raises questions about potential harmful effects on prices, choices, and innovation. At the same time, a wide array of public policies affect seed markets. Yet, not much information has been available so far as to the extent of market concentration and its potential harmful effects. This report provides new data and analysis on concentration in the industry, reviews the theoretical and empirical literature on effects of mergers, and presents several policy options.


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