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Ban Terminator seed technology

From March 20-31, 2006 in Curitiba, Parana, Brazil the 8th Conference of the Parties (COP8) to the Convention on Biological Diversity will meet. Among the topics to be discussed is the future of terminator seed technology.

One of the most controversial developments seed companies have proposed, terminator technology would create plants that produce sterile seed. Such technologies would protect corporate patents and profits by preventing farmers from saving seed for the following year’s planting and forcing them to buy seeds from seed companies.

Though several companies have patents for terminator technology, such was the outcry against it in the past among farmers that its development has been delayed. It has not been commercialized or field-tested but tests have been conducted in greenhouses in the United States. There has been an international de facto moratorium on terminator technology at the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, but the moratorium is now in jeopardy. Some governments and corporations are pushing hard to commercialize the technology.

The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns’ Advisory Committee on the Integrity of Creation reflections on GMO technology, including terminator seeds, is available here. In this reflection paper, we raised serious concerns about “…the specter of a few corporations controlling the world’s food supply and access to the seeds and technology of production. Farmers, who in the past have shared and saved seeds, will be forced to buy seeds along with the whole technological package.” The potential negative impact of terminator technology for Indigenous peoples and traditional knowledge, peasants and small-scale farmers, and biosafety is enormous.

The international community can ban terminator technology. Please consider joining the international campaign. A petition for organizations to sign is also available at the Ban Terminator website.

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