Syngenta is the world's largest pesticide corporation, and the third largest seed company. Its headquarters are located in Basel, Switzerland. Syngenta's market power and political influence make it one of the key drivers of highly industrialised conventional agriculture – with negative effects such as damage to health and the environment due to pesticides, the uncontrolled spread of genetically modified organisms, the negative impact of intellectual property rights on farmers' rights, advances in breeding and the loss of agricultural biodiversity.
Facts & Figures
- Syngenta came into being in 2000 when the agribusiness arms of Novartis and Astra-Zeneca were merged. This created the world's largest agricultural corporation, located in Switzerland.
- Syngenta employs more than 27,000 staff in about 90 countries (2013 figures). In 2013, Syngenta posted total turnover of USD 14.7 billion. 74% of this was earned from sales of pesticides, while the seed division accounted for 22% of turnover.
- 24% of all pesticides sold throughout the world originate from Syngenta.
- According to an overview study by Public Eye (Paraquat: Unacceptable Health Risks for Users, 01.04.11), Syngenta shares responsibility for thousands of cases of poisoning each year due to sales of paraquat outside of Europe.
- According to a statement by Syngenta itself (at the 2009 General Meeting of Shareholders), it is the global market leader for paraquat sales.
- According to the criteria of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations ( FAO) Syngenta's paraquat pesticide is classified as highly dangerous. It was banned long ago in Switzerland and the EU. The FAO is calling for the distribution and use of paraquat to be phased out.
- Syngenta is one of the companies that submits the largest numbers of applications for patents on crops and cultivated plants. As regards patent applications for conventional plant varieties (which should be exempted from patenting according to a resolution of the EU Parliament in 2012), Syngenta holds second place in Europe after the Monsanto Group.