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for a responsible, fair & sustainable food system

African NGOs tell Ministers: Say “No” to Terminator Technology

Immediate release (17 Feb 2006)

Calls to Pete Riley 07903 341 065

A group of African NGOs[1] has appealed to Ministers in an open letter to oppose any moves to erode the global moratorium of Terminator technology agreed under the Convention on Biodiversity(CBD)[2] in 2000 and to move towards an outright ban of this controversial GM technology.

Next month in Brazil delegates at the Convention of Parties of the CBD (COP8) will face a concerted effort by Australia, Canada and New Zealand, working with the US government, to weaken the global moratorium on Terminator technology by allowing a “case by case” assessment. This would open the door for its entry into agriculture. The weakening text was inserted at last month’s COP8 preparatory meetings in Spain.

Terminator technology is a form of genetic modification that makes harvested seeds sterile. It is a highly controversial technology that was designed by the biotech industry to prevent farmers from saving their seed, forcing them to buy new seed each season

In their open letter [3] the African NGOs tell Ministers:

80% of small farmers in Africa save their seed. Enforced seed sterility in our seed would dramatically affect farming and rural livelihoods across Africa. An end to seed saving would lead to the disappearance of the genetic diversity our ancestors have left us, and which we have a responsibility to leave to future generations.

We ask that the moratorium be strongly reaffirmed, if not concretised into an outright ban.

Following a Parliamentary briefing [4] on Terminator, this week, former Environment Minister Michael Meacher, said:

Terminator technology clearly demonstrates that the claims that the claims made by biotech corporations about improving food security are a falsehood. This technology is dangerous, and threatens farmers and food security all over the world. There has been a global moratorium on Terminator since 2000 – it was a bad technology then, and it is a bad technology now. The UK must demonstrate its commitment to global food security and have a strong position at the CBD meeting in March, to ensure that Terminator seeds never see the light of day.

ENDs

Calls to Pete Riley 07903 341 065.