Syngenta exploits fears over Monsanto GM corn seed
Syngenta flagged a boost to its herbicide sales from insect resistance to – Monsanto’s – genetically-modified corn seed as it unveiled rising quarterly sales, led by an “excellent performance” in Latin America.
The world’s biggest agrichemicals company, which is a huge player in seed too, said that North American sales of its Force insecticide brand tripled in the July-to-September quarter, defying a 2.1% decline in overall revenues in the region from farm sprays.
The jump in Force sales reflected “increasing growing awareness of resistance to a competitor’s corn rootworm trait” – that is the protection against the damaging moth caterpillar fostered by genetically modified seed.
Syngenta’s comments follow worries raised by some Midwest research suggesting that rootworms, which threaten some 45% of US corn area, and losses of $2bn a year, are cracking of defences in Monsanto GM seed.
The US Environmental Protection agency in August flagged “mounting evidence raising concerns that insect resistance is developing in parts of the Corn Belt”.