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Monsanto is an agricultural company that operates in two segments: seeds and genomics, and agricultural productivity, which includes agrochemicals. The seeds and genomics segment covers both field crop and vegetable seeds under multiple brands, with DEKALB maize and Seminis vegetables among the most prominent. In South and Southeast Asia, the company also has extensive activities in cotton. Monsanto India Ltd is a subsidiary that was established in 1949 and then converted into a public limited company in 1978. In the decades since, the company has established regional sales offices and multiple breeding and seed production locations. In August 2018, Bayer completed the $66 billion acquisition of Monsanto. Activities to integrate Monsanto into Bayer are ongoing.DownloadCompany
Monsanto ranks tenth in the South and Southeast Asia Index, with a mixed performance across the measurement areas. The commitments from its 2017 sustainability report reflect Monsanto’s solid performance in Governance & Strategy, while the company demonstrates a wide range and scope of activities in Capacity Building for smallholder farmers across the region. However, a lack of transparency on the availability and distribution of seed in the region impacts its scores in Marketing & Sales. In addition, Monsanto’s positions on Intellectual Property, while being transparent and publicly available, are not beneficial for smallholder farmers. Although the company demonstrates strong breeding and seed production activities in India, it does not provide the same depth of information on activities elsewhere in South and Southeast Asia.
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Monsanto’s 2017 sustainability report comprises three focus areas: Better Planet, Better Lives and Better Partner. Each addresses specific Sustainable Development Goals, incorporates company activities and sets 2020 corporate targets. These include training 4 million smallholder farmers, with 2.5 million tracked through 2017, and improving the lives of 5 million resource-poor families worldwide.
The company demonstrates geographically diverse capacity building activities in South and Southeast Asia, with a wide scope and effective monitoring and tracking of the numbers of smallholder farmers reached. These include 57,000 farmers in the Philippines and 115,000 in Indonesia who received training on best agronomic practices, 340,000 Vietnamese farmers reached through specific DEKALB maize training and 100,000 Indian smallholders trained on sustainable agriculture techniques as a part of Project SHARE 2.
Although Monsanto is transparent about its positions on patents, Plant Variety Protection law and farm-saved seed, none is aligned with the needs of smallholder farmers, and the company does not make it clear to what extent these positions are enforced in South and Southeast Asia.
The company is encouraged to disclose further information on its portfolio availability and seed activities in South and Southeast Asia.
The company is encouraged to provide further, and more in-depth, reporting of regional activities related to research and development as well as marketing and sales, particularly in countries outside of India.
As part of the company’s membership in the Philippines Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture, Monsanto has provided technical support and DEKALB maize seed for adaptability testing.
In India, the company has established 46 Centers of Excellence across all maize growing areas to train farmers on best crop management practices. Additionally, the company has conducted over 7,000 tests on DEKALB maize hybrids and carried out approximately 400 demonstrations of new varieties.
In response to the challenge of postharvest storage losses, Monsanto researchers evaluated over 500 tomato genotypes and identified two hybrid varieties with the necessary shelf life and firmness to make the journey from farm gate to market in India.
Up to 50,000 smallholder farmers are involved in seed production in six states in India, where the company has a development and monitoring program that ensures effective monitoring of potential child labor cases.
As part of its commitment to the World Economic Forum’s Grow Asia platform, Monsanto collaborated with the Vietnamese government to train 5,000 rice farmers on corn planting techniques, converting 2,200 hectares over a three-month period.
The company and its subsidiary, the Climate Corporation, have developed the FarmRise mobile application, which delivers free information and agronomic advice directly to smallholder farmers. As of 2017, the number of users had reached 4.2 million across 16 Indian states and was available in seven local languages.
Monsanto and the Provincial Government of Bukidnon held a two-day conference in November 2016 that was attended by 300 Filipino women farmers. The participants received training on agricultural finance management and digital literacy, with the aim of increasing productivity both at home and in the field.