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Canada’s Agricultural Giants in Antitrust Spotlight

 |  April 23, 2024

The proposed acquisition of Viterra by Bunge has come under scrutiny by Canada’s antitrust authority, the Competition Bureau, which has expressed significant concerns regarding the deal’s potential impact on the country’s agricultural markets. The watchdog warns that the merger could lead to “substantial harm” by reducing competition in the supply of essential inputs for farmers and the purchase of their products.

According to the Competition Bureau, the merger between these two agricultural giants could result in higher prices and fewer choices for both farmers purchasing inputs and those selling their grain and oilseeds. This development raises alarms about the potential consolidation of power within the agricultural sector, which could have far-reaching consequences for market dynamics and fairness.

The Bureau’s apprehensions are rooted in the significant role both Bunge and Viterra play in the agricultural landscape of Canada. Their operations span across the supply chain, from providing farmers with necessary inputs like seeds and fertilizer to purchasing and processing their harvests. The proposed deal, therefore, poses a risk of creating a market environment where competitive pressures are substantially diminished.

In response to these concerns, the Competition Bureau has made it clear that it intends to take a firm stance. “The Bureau will not hesitate to take action if it is determined that the merger will substantially lessen or prevent competition,” a spokesperson stated, emphasizing the antitrust watchdog’s commitment to preserving competitive markets for the benefit of Canadian farmers and consumers alike.

Source: Reuters