A major wave of consolidation that kicked off in 2016 continues to move forward with the U.S. Department of Justice allowing chemical producer Bayer to acquire the U.S. based seed company Monsanto, reported on April 9.

As giant transnational corporations increase their power over the market, independent farmers are left with fewer options and suffer from less competition among input providers.

For nearly two years, this proposal has worked its way through both domestic and international boards for approval. In March, the European Union released their consent of the $62.5 billion buy, after Bayer agreed to sell assets to rival BASF. The company will have control of more than a quarter of the world’s seed and pesticides market.

Fewer and fewer companies producing seeds and chemicals for farmers spells fewer choices and higher prices in return. The vast majority of the globe’s seed is developed by private companies, which means their profits come first – before the health of rural communities or natural resources.

With lax enforcement of existing anti-monopoly laws, it is increasingly clear that legislative action will be required to preserve competition in the marketplace.

This is the latest in a trio of mega mergers of seed companies. Other unions include Dow and Dupont, and ChemChina and Syngenta.

The sale of Monsanto to Bayer is anticipated to close during the second quarter.

Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, non-profit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.