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 seed under multiple brands, with DEKALB maize and Seminis vegetables among the most prominent, as well as developing biotechnology traits and licensing germplasm and traits to other seed companies. In Western and Central Africa, the company has a business location in Burkina Faso and also operations in Nigeria. In 2018, Bayer complete the $66 billion acquisition of Monsanto. Activities to fully integrate Monsanto into Bayer are ongoing.

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Western and Central Africa

Summary of results:

Monsanto ranks 16th in the 2019 Index for Western and Central Africa, with a clear disparity between the company’s global Commitments and region-specific activities. Its strongest score, in Governance & Strategy, is reflective of its sustainability strategy Growing Better Together, which addresses sustainability and smallholder farmer targets, albeit with a lack of clarity on how the company contributes to local seed sector development and improving the region’s enabling environment. Monsanto also performs well in Seed Production, courtesy of production activities in Burkina Faso and stringent labor standards. The company exhibits moderate strengths in other measurement areas, including corporate positions on the conservation of genetic resources and benefit-sharing. It also demonstrates transparent positions in Intellectual Property, although none of these are favorable to smallholder farmers. Monsanto’s donation of technology to the African Agriculture Technology Foundation to develop regionally adapted cowpea varieties is a leading Research & Development practice. Limited evidence was provided relating to Capacity Building. Similarly, little information was disclosed on the extent of portfolio availability and associated marketing activities in the region, resulting in the company's lowest score in Marketing & Sales.

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Operations in Scope
  • Countries in Scope
  • Company Presence
  • Production Locations
  • Breeding Station/R&D
Index Crops in Portfolio
Field crops
Green bean
Green pea
Pepper (hot)
Pepper (sweet)
Leading Practices

    Monsanto donated technology to the African Agriculture Technology Foundation to develop cowpea varieties resistant to pests such as Maruca pod borer. In 2017, it expanded field trials into Burkina Faso, Ghana and Nigeria. In early 2019, Nigerian authorities approved the commercial release of a cowpea variety that resulted from this research and is genetically improved to resist the pest.

Areas for Improvement

    Although Monsanto is transparent about its positions on patents, plant variety protection law and farm-saved seed, none are favorable to the needs of smallholder farmers. The company is encouraged to reconsider these positions with respect to the needs of smallholder farmers within its customer base.

    The company does not disclose information related to its breeding programs for vegetables and whether these consider traits beneficial for smallholder farmers in Western and Central Africa. It is encouraged to disclose the scope of its breeding programs aimed at smallholder farmers.

    The company discloses little or no information about the portfolio availability of its prominent brands, particularly DEKALB for maize and Seminis for vegetables. It is encouraged to improve disclosure of its sales activities in Western and Central Africa.

Notable Findings

    Following its takeover by Bayer, Monsanto will no longer be a company name. The acquired products will retain their brand names and become part of the Bayer portfolio.

    Monsanto was given approval by national authorities to trial genetically modified maize for insect resistance and herbicide tolerance (and to commercially release genetically modified cotton, which is outside the scope of index crops) in Nigeria in the 2015-17 index period.