Monsanto Corporation has established itself as a biotechnology, agricultural and Chemical Corporation. It was a pioneer in the biological genetic modification of plant cells and has over the years consistently led in production of genetically engineered seeds (Harrison 29). Monsanto has been instrumental in creating public awareness on the delicate subject of genetically engineered foods. Considering that a few years ago many people around the world were skeptical about this innovation, it is beyond doubt that the Monsanto Corporation has had its fair share of success.
Although Monsanto has the most widespread market share of genetically engineered crops in the world, we have other large companies such as Syngenta, located in Switzerland, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, based in Iowa, Dow Agro sciences in Indiana and Bayer Crop science in Germany (Harrison 140). Important to note also is that agricultural genetic engineering is not entirely done by private companies. This means that gradually, new companies dealing with research on food production, and other pharmaceutical traits are coming up. However, obtaining patents is an arduous task for emerging companies trying to gain access to this competitive industry.
Key among the barriers to the success of the Monsanto Company is the wide perception that genetically engineered products are harmful. However, farmers, predominantly due to their resistance to diseases, have embraced these crops. A research conducted in 2008 disclosed that Monsanto was by far the largest vegetables seeds supplier with a record 4200 seed variant (Glanz 38).
Activists have persistently been against the use of genetically modified foods. This has been most evident in the United States where Proposition 37, a bill that required the containers holding GMOs to reveal their ingredients was strongly opposed by all the major GMO companies (Glanz 97). The Alliance for Natural Health as well as the Food and Drug administration has been instrumental in deterring the public against GMOs.
For a Company to succeed in any economy, it is paramount that it is responsive to societal needs and demands. A critical analysis of the Monsanto shows that it has slowly but surely integrated itself in the diverse societal dynamics. In this regard, the societal environment entails:
- Socio-cultural Forces – This includes the demographic and cultural aspect of the external environment. Even with an appreciation of the fact that the food industry is booming, we should be prudent in the approach of the issue of GMOs. Food is personal in as much as it is business. With its continued grasp of the uniqueness of its different market, Monsanto’s market is deemed certain in the near future.
- Political/legal Forces – The effect of government regulations cannot be ignored in any business. Governments have invariably requested more research to be carried on these genetically engineered seeds. Moreover, Monsanto has been vigilant in instituting legal proceedings on farmers who illegally use their seed without royalty payments. This is sure to tighten Monsanto’s right to its patents and allow survival in the competitive market.
- Technological Forces – The Monsanto has boldly worked to embrace innovations. In association with Biotechnology Industry Organization, it is expected that Montano will in the next ten years have taken great strides in production of genetically modified crops.
- Economic Forces – Undoubtedly, the potential customers’ purchasing power affects the growth rate of any industry. The Monsanto has engaged in serious lobbying and marketing of its products with figures indicating that the Company has recorded an exponential increase in market share to 75% of the total market share in this industry. Projections indicate the trend will be consistent in the next few years.
Summary of Strengths Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats
One of the major strengths of Monsanto is its intensive research capability. Monsanto has provided farmers with a wide variety of seeds to choose from. It has also consistently used proven science-based techniques in carrying out research. However, a lack of transparency with its customers on the ingredients that constitute their various products has been a major let down (Teitel 109). New opportunities lie in penetrating emerging markets such as those in the third world countries. Aggressive marketing is therefore essential. Surprisingly, the greatest threat emanates from unfavorable government legislations in some countries, which are against GMOs.
Monsanto should open new offices in the emerging markets and campaigns on awareness creation embarked on. In preparation of annual budgets, an average of 25% of their profits should be geared towards establishing and branding themselves in these markets. Moreover, research on seed variants that are suitable in these areas and coming up with seeds resistant to the respective environmental constraints would be a smart strategy for increasing market base enormously (Tokar 165).
In addition to these, engaging governments in talks on the benefits of genetically engineered crops to the economy is an apt approach to lobby government support. Monsanto can also go a step further in presenting samples for analysis in government research centers and thus alleviate the misconception that their products are unsafe.
Control procedures such as effective market research before entering a new market are fundamental. Equally important is restraining from production and distribution of products without adequate information on their effect to the public. In conclusion, the Monsanto Corporation should develop and maintain interactive websites where customers can raise complaints give suggestions or generally post their views on the various products.
Glanz, Karen, Barbara K. Rimer, and K Viswanath. Health Behavior and Health Education: Theory, Research, and Practice. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2008. Internet resource.
Harrison, Beth H. Shedding Light on Genetically Engineered Food: What You Don't Know About the Food You're Eating and What You Can Do to Protect Yourself. New York: iUniverse, 2007. Print.
Teitel, Martin, and Kimberly A. Wilson. Genetically Engineered Food: Changing the Nature of Nature. Rochester Vt: Park Street Press, 2001. Print.
Tokar, Brian. Redesigning Life?: The Worldwide Challenge to Genetic Engineering. Montreal [u.a.: McGill-Queens's Univ. Press [u.a., 2001. Print.