La Conferencia Mundial de Semillas 1999, sesiona del 6 al 8 de Setiembre en Cambridge, Reino Unido, conmemorando el 75o. aniversario del comercio internacional de semillas. RAFI aprovechó esta oportunidad para lanzar una actualización de su informe "Consolidación de la industria de semillas". Un número cada vez menor de enormes compañías -los Gigantes Genéticos- dominan las ventas mundiales de semillas, agroquímicos y farmacéuticos. "Dado el ritmo vertiginoso de fusiones en el comercio global de semillas, las empresas que formaban la membresía de la Conferencia han ido desapareciendo. Hoy en día, probablemente todos los directores ejecutivos de la industria de semillas se puedan reunir cómodamente en un picnic en el patio de alguno de los miembros", señala Pat Mooney, director ejecutivo de RAFI, que es uno de los panelistas de la Conferencia Mundial de Semillas a realizarse la semana próxima.
While momentum to ban Terminator Technology builds across the world, the UN's Convention on Biological Diversity has taken a large step backwards in its recent decision on Terminator and related technologies it calls GURTs" (Genetic Use Restriction Technologies). Rather than banning them - or even calling for a moratorium - the Biodiversity Convention's scientific body (called SBSTTA) adopted a decision that gives a green light to their commercialization. The SBSTTA decision even restricts the rights of countries to impose national bans on Terminator by linking moratoria to trade sanctions. Says RAFI's Executive Director Pat Mooney, "The CBD isn't regulating GMOs - Genetically Modified Organisms, it is becoming a GMO - a Governmentally Modified Organism."
The CBD as a GMO (Governmentally-modified Organism) Interminable Terminator talks at the Biodiversity Convention fail to exercise precautionary principle on threat to security and sovereignty. If the Convention can't take a stand on Terminator what can it do?
When the Biodiversity Convention's call last year for an investigation of Terminator Technology was followed by a repudiation of the Terminator by the world's largest public sector plant breeding network (CGIAR), the technology's numerous inventors began to back peddle. After all, commercial introduction of the seed sterilization technique was at least three years off. If governments and civil society critics could be pacified now, there would be time to position an effective lobby and PR strategy that would keep the Terminator 'on course' as the platform for all GMO plant breeding in the future.
El Organo Subsidiario de Asesoramiento Científico, Técnico y Tecnológico (OSACTT) del Convenio de Biodiversidad se reúne en Montreal del 21 al 25 de junio. En la agenda de discusión están las tecnologías"Terminator" (exterminadora) y "Traitor" (traidora). Denominadas Tecnologías de Restricción del Uso Genético (TRUG) por Naciones Unidas, estas tecnologías fueron analizadas por un panel independiente de científicos de OSACTT que presentarán su informe a los gobiernos.
Launching a new phase in the campaign to 'Terminate Terminator (seed sterilization) Technology', RAFI is sending personal letters to more than 550 ministers and senior officials responsible for agriculture, environment, and patent offices in 140 countries. The letters ask cabinet officers to assert national sovereignty over their seed supply and to ban the seed sterilization technology outright. The letters also ask ministers to reject each individual Terminator-type patent pending within their jurisdiction. Ministers are receiving a status report on key Terminator patents in their countries. Many governments are unaware that the World Trade Organization allows countries to reject individual patents on the grounds that they are contrary to ordre public (public morality and/or a threat to health or the environment)," Pat Mooney, RAFI's Executive Director says, "The WTO also allows governments to ban the entire technology. Both steps should be taken."
Terminator Technology has been selected by Project Censored (California, USA) as one of the most important, under-reported news stories in the mainstream media in 1998. Terminator refers to a controversial genetic technology that renders farm-saved seed sterile, forcing farmers to purchase crop seed annually.
A new report from RAFI details over two dozen "terminator II" patents that link suicide seeds to proprietary chemicals genetically-weakened plants, and the patented power to make genetically-nonviable plants rise from the dead.
CARE, the high-profile U.S. food aid non-profit, is holding talks today with Monsanto Corporation at the company's world headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri (US). According to information received by RAFI, Monsanto's CEO Robert Shapiro contacted CARE's President, Peter Bell, inviting CARE officials to discuss ways in which Monsanto may be able to use its technologies for the benefit of food security in the South. Whether this is an attempt to resurrect Monsanto's scheme to provide micro-credit (soft") loans to Third World farmers in order to market its proprietary pesticides and genetically-modified seeds remains to be seen.
A bill has been introduced in the Ohio state legislature (United States) that would require registration and state-level regulation of anyone who cleans or conditions self-pollinated seed. According to the Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI), the proposed legislation is part of Monsanto's aggressive corporate strategy to police rural communities and intimidate seed-saving farmers.