Monsanto discontinued development of transgenic wheat. Pseudo-religious opponents of GMO rejoice that their religion has succeeded. But it seems they do so too early. In economy and ecology, there is a rule that free space is soon occupied. Syngenta enters the scene. It became famous when it broke through seven-year European moratorium on GMO with cans of sweet corn. Syngenta is a European company located in Basel. It is a merger of agrarian parts of companies Novartis and Zeneca.
Spokesman of the company – Chris Novak – informed that besides development of transgenic banana (with delayed ripening) Syngenta continues development of transgenic wheat on the horizon of 2007. Despite they are aware of reasons that made Monsanto discontinue the wheat project, the company goes on. They stopped field tests in Germany as eco-terrorists had destroyed them, but more are performed in Spain. Their philosophy seeks benefits for consumers, not only for growers.
In the American Midwest, they hope that transgenic wheat will be resistant to fusarium mold, which caused billions dollars in damages there in last decades.
Syngenta builds a strong position on the seed market. They acquired seed section Advanta from AstraZeneca and Royal Cosun (its Dutch partner) for 400 million USD together with Fox Paine, which is an investor entering the seed market (they bought food and vegetable company Seminis last year). Advanta is the world’s fifth largest seed company. Syngenta paid 239 million USD for maize and soya unit; Fox Paine funded other parts engaged in the free market beside North America.
Syngenta does not expand without problems though. In USA, they faced a lawsuit from Monsanto for patent infringement (regarding “basic technology” of glyphosate-tolerant varieties preparation). Syngenta states that they acquired license for a part of GA21 technology from Bayer CropScience.
Résumé: In the light of this development it seems that transgenic wheat still has some future. If it brings benefits to consumers, it can mean more than removal of moratorium in EU.