Still attempts are on to open the door to field testing of terminator seeds

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Terminated?


Some nations

and corporates, who were ready to test the `terminator', were insisting on a `case-by-case' assessment of such technologies.

This text was

rejected in the Convention on Biological Diversity's working group dealing with the issue.

It needs to

be formally adopted by the plenary of the CBD, which would meet on March 31.

Hyderabad, March 26

The ban on the controversial `terminator' seed technology, which threatened to impact farmers' rights, will continue, with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), deciding to do so.

The Conference of Parties (CoP) of the CBD, which met in Brazil to discuss the issue, has decided to continue the global moratorium on the technology (called as terminator seed technology by NGOs).

According to the South Against Genetic Engineering (SAGE), a coalition of farmers movements, civil society groups, scientists, consumer movements from South India, the CoP decision comes in the wake of widespread opposition from across many countries.

Ready to try

Countries such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand backed by the US (not a party to CBD) and several agro chemical and biotech multinational corporations were, however, leading attempts to open the door to field testing of terminator seeds, SAGE said in a press release here.

These nations and corporates were insisting on a `case-by-case' assessment of such technologies. This text was rejected in the CBD's working group dealing with the issue. It needs to be formally adopted by the plenary of the CBD, which would meet on March 31.

Terminator technology refers to the genetic engineering technique by which the second generation seeds are rendered sterile, thus forcing the farmers to go back to the seed companies for the next season material.

It threatens the age-old practise of farmers storing seeds in on-farm seed banks and using them in subsequent seasons, NGOs alleged.

Ban demanded

Most campaigners in the CBD demanded a total ban on the terminator technology once and for all and emulate the governments of India and Brazil, which have already enacted such a ban, the SAGE release added, while hailing the decision as a genuine victory that would ensure biodiversity, food and livelihood security of billions of farmers globally.

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(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 27, 2006)
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