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Abstract

Dramatic increases in concentration in the seed business, coupled with aggressive efforts to vertically integrate the agricultural sector and to institute contract-based production of commodities, have raised questions about the economic position of producers. Disparate positions of market power by highly concentrated input suppliers on the one hand (particularly seed suppliers because of control over germ plasm and a monopoly position over seed varieties through plant patents or plant variety protection certificates), and producers in nearly perfect competition on the other, suggest that the revenue division from production is likely to be redefined in favor of the party with the greater market and economic power. Possible solutions include aggressive antitrust oversight over further mergers and consolidations, assuring that more germ plasm is in the public domain, and collective action by producers in bargaining for inputs.

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