When farmers cultivate genetically modified varieties, they have to pay technology fees to the seed breeding companies that hold the patents (and in the case of rapeseed, maize and soya, sell the herbicide at the same time). They can then only cultivate their own crops after obtaining permission from the patent holder and paying the fees. This means that the use of agro-genetic engineering increases farmers' dependence on a few seed companies, because they can no longer decide on their own about cultivation measures, the use of sprays and fertilisers, the handling of the harvest and marketing.
The market for genetically modified seeds is shared by six multinationals: Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, Dow, BASF and DuPont/Pioneer. All of them are chemical companies by origin.
According to the motto "learning from genetic engineering means learning to win", the corporations are increasingly trying to claim patent protection for conventionally bred animals and plants as well as for conventional breeding methods.
According to the European Patent Convention (EPC), patents on conventional breeding methods are prohibited. This means that the processes are not patentable, but the products are. In this way, the corporations have asserted their interests.