Re-assert ban on terminator seeds: farmers

New Delhi, March 23 | Updated: Mar 24 2006, 05:30am hrs
Civil society organisations (CSOs) and farmers groups have urged the government not to compromise its stand on terminator seed technology in the ongoing eighth Conference of Parties (CoP-8) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in Curtiba in Brazil.

In response to the global uproar over terminator seed technology, the fifth Conference of Parties (CoP-5) in 2000 suggested a global ban on this technology. India and Brazil followed suit by banning this technology through their national laws. The CoP-5 decision forced many MNCs, including Monsanto, to declare that they would not commercialise this technology.

However, the proponents of the terminator technology later became active and tried to water down the CoP-5 decision at a meeting of the working group on traditional knowledge, innovation and practices of indigenous communities in Granada, Spain in January 2006. They suggested a case-by-case consideration by national governments instead of a blanket ban on the technology.

In this context, the CSOs and farmers groups have urged the Indian negotiators to be firm in re-asserting a blanket ban on the technology.

Welcome back

Terminator technology or the genetic use restriction technology produces crops for one generation only. These crops, in turn, produce seeds which would not germinate
In response to the global uproar, the fifth Conference of Parties (CoP-5) in 2000 suggested a worldwide ban on this technology
The CoP-5 decision forced many MNCs, including Monsanto, to declare that they would not commercialise this technology
The proponents of the technology now suggest a "case-by-case" consideration by national governments instead of a blanket ban on the technology

Terminator technology otherwise called the genetic use restriction technology (GURTS) produces crops for one generation only. These crops, in turn, produce seeds which would not germinate. This is a dangerous technology. Farmers will not be able to save seeds for the next season. The pollen from flowers of plants grown out of GURTS seeds is dangerous as it can make other crops produce terminator seeds, said Devinder Sharma of Forum for Biotechnology and Food Security.

Kanchi Kohli of Kalpavriksh alleged, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are being instigated by the US to water down the ban. The US is not a party to the global treaty and is working at the behest of the seed multinationals.