17th May 2000

Terminator Technology still alive!

We thought Monsanto and the Life Industry had rejected the technology, but the CGIAR had outlawed work on it; and that the public sector was opposed. But what do we learn form RAFI at their lunchtime briefing on Tuesday, that:

  • Biotech corporations and universities have taken out 7 new patents on seed sterility technologies since the scandalous Terminator Technology was exposed 2 years ago.
  • 43 patents on trait specifics 'Traitor' technologies (T-GURTS) have been filed.
  • USDA has refused to back off its patent claim on the original Terminator Technology.
  • The CGIAR, while rejecting seed sterility technologies, is 'silent' on trait-specific technologies.

Public outrage is clearly not enough - we need intergovernmental action.

As one Kenyan delegate asked, "Why is there any question about the CBD deciding that it should be banned. What are we waiting for...it will be the same bad technology in 2 years' time and by then it might have been commercially released. Why don't we just ban it now?"

Also in the WTO, on moral grounds (TRIPS Article 27.2) it could be banned.

So why the delay?

There was a call from the floor for civil society organisations to bring pressure on their governments to ban Terminator and Traitor technologies. Let's start with the delegates...

Our thanks to RAFI - keep us the pressure; keep sending us the latest information!

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