When the Biodiversity Convention's call last year for an investigation of Terminator Technology was followed by a repudiation of the Terminator by the world's largest public sector plant breeding network (CGIAR), the technology's numerous inventors began to back peddle. After all, commercial introduction of the seed sterilization technique was at least three years off. If governments and civil society critics could be pacified now, there would be time to position an effective lobby and PR strategy that would keep the Terminator 'on course' as the platform for all GMO plant breeding in the future.
El Organo Subsidiario de Asesoramiento Científico, Técnico y Tecnológico (OSACTT) del Convenio de Biodiversidad se reúne en Montreal del 21 al 25 de junio. En la agenda de discusión están las tecnologías"Terminator" (exterminadora) y "Traitor" (traidora). Denominadas Tecnologías de Restricción del Uso Genético (TRUG) por Naciones Unidas, estas tecnologías fueron analizadas por un panel independiente de científicos de OSACTT que presentarán su informe a los gobiernos.
Launching a new phase in the campaign to 'Terminate Terminator (seed sterilization) Technology', RAFI is sending personal letters to more than 550 ministers and senior officials responsible for agriculture, environment, and patent offices in 140 countries. The letters ask cabinet officers to assert national sovereignty over their seed supply and to ban the seed sterilization technology outright. The letters also ask ministers to reject each individual Terminator-type patent pending within their jurisdiction. Ministers are receiving a status report on key Terminator patents in their countries. Many governments are unaware that the World Trade Organization allows countries to reject individual patents on the grounds that they are contrary to ordre public (public morality and/or a threat to health or the environment)," Pat Mooney, RAFI's Executive Director says, "The WTO also allows governments to ban the entire technology. Both steps should be taken."
Terminator Technology has been selected by Project Censored (California, USA) as one of the most important, under-reported news stories in the mainstream media in 1998. Terminator refers to a controversial genetic technology that renders farm-saved seed sterile, forcing farmers to purchase crop seed annually.
A new report from RAFI details over two dozen "terminator II" patents that link suicide seeds to proprietary chemicals genetically-weakened plants, and the patented power to make genetically-nonviable plants rise from the dead.
CARE, the high-profile U.S. food aid non-profit, is holding talks today with Monsanto Corporation at the company's world headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri (US). According to information received by RAFI, Monsanto's CEO Robert Shapiro contacted CARE's President, Peter Bell, inviting CARE officials to discuss ways in which Monsanto may be able to use its technologies for the benefit of food security in the South. Whether this is an attempt to resurrect Monsanto's scheme to provide micro-credit (soft") loans to Third World farmers in order to market its proprietary pesticides and genetically-modified seeds remains to be seen.
A bill has been introduced in the Ohio state legislature (United States) that would require registration and state-level regulation of anyone who cleans or conditions self-pollinated seed. According to the Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI), the proposed legislation is part of Monsanto's aggressive corporate strategy to police rural communities and intimidate seed-saving farmers.
Fifteen Francophone African states, among them some of the poorest countries in the world, are under pressure to sign away the right of more than 20 million small-holder farmers to save and exchange crop seed. The decision to abandon Africa's 12,000-year tradition of seed saving will be finalized at a meeting February 22-25 in the Central African Republic. The 15 governments have been told to adopt draconian intellectual property legislation for plant varieties in order to conform to a provision in the World Trade Organization (WTO) that obliges signatories to protect" plant varieties. The legislation (a kind of legal "Terminator" because it prohibits farmers from replanting "protected" seed) is also known, euphemistically, as "Plant Breeders' Rights". If adopted, the legislation will throw some of Africa's poorest countries into an intellectual property cartel dominated by a handful of OECD states led by the USA, the UK, and Japan.
Quinze pays francophones de l'Afrique, dont certains comptent parmi les pays les plus pauvres de la planète, subissent des pressions pour céder le droit de plus de vingt millions de petits cultivateurs à conserver et à échanger les semences. La décision d'abandonner la tradition africaine vieille de 12 000 ans de conservation des semences sera entérinée à une rencontre qui se déroulera du 22 au 25 février prochain en République centrafricaine. Les quinze gouvernements auraient reçu la directive d'adopter une loi draconienne sur la propriété intellectuelle touchant les espèces végétales afin de se conformer à une disposition de l'Organisation mondiale du commerce (OMC) qui oblige les signataires à "protéger" les obtentions végétales. La loi (dite de type "Terminator", car elle interdit aux agriculteurs de semer des graines "protégées") est également connue, par euphémisme, sous le nom de "Droits de protection des obtentions végétales". Si elle est adoptée, cette loi emporteraient certains des pays les plus pauvres de l'Afrique dans un cartel de propriété intellectuelle dominé par une poignée d'États de l'OCDE menés par les États-Unis, le Japon et le Royaume-Uni.
The Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI), a Canadian-based rural advocacy organization, announced today that it has uncovered over three dozen new patents describing a wide range of techniques that can be used for the genetic sterilization of plants and seeds. The patents reveal that engineered seed sterility is not an isolated research agenda - it's the Holy Grail of the ag biotech industry," says Pat Mooney of RAFI. The disclosure follows on the heels of a controversial patent unveiled last year, christened the "Terminator" by RAFI, that continues to generate worldwide protest and debate because it renders farm-saved seed sterile - forcing farmers to return to the commercial seed market every year. The Terminator patent is jointly owned by the US Department of Agriculture and a Monsanto subsidiary, Delta & Pine Land Co.