Peasant’s Victory in Defending Seeds from Terminator Technology

Press Release

(Curitiba Brazil, 24 March 2006) The international peasants’ movement La Via Campesina celebrates the decision made today by the Convention on Biodiversity’s working group at COP 8 in Curitiba, Brazil, to maintain and strengthen the de facto moratorium on Terminator technology. This technology, also referred to as GURTs (Genetic Use Restriction Technology), inserts genes to make the plant’s seeds sterile: the original seed will grow, but the seeds that the plant produces will not germinate.

The decision was taken today while hundreds of peasants and landless farmers of La Via Campesina were staging a loud protest in front of the conference center asking for a ban on Terminator. It is a victory for peasant women and men, Indigenous people, youth, NGOs, environmental groups and other civil society organizations that have been campaigning for years against the multinational corporations with patents on suicides seeds (such as Monsanto, Syngenta, Dupont, etc).

During the debates at COP 8, a broad coalition of countries and civil society groups supported the moratorium while only a handful of countries were actively pushing to allow field trials on Terminator technology on a “case by case risk assessment” basis (ie Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States). The green light on field trials would lead to the seeds commercialization, further destruction of farmers’ livelihoods, environmental contamination and destruction of biodiversity.  

Todays’ working group decision will go to the final plenary of the UN meeting. Therefore, La Via Campesina is mobilizing thousands of farmers in Curitiba asking for a complete international ban on Terminator technology. There should be no research on an immoral technology that will increase world hunger by preventing millions of the peasants from saving their own seeds. Moreover, La Via Campesina is calling governments around the world to enact national bans on Terminator and GMO’s (Brazil and India have already banned Terminator at national level).

La Via Campesina is struggling for the defense of biodiversity, seeds, land, water, forests. We will keep fighting against the monopolization of natural resources by a few multinational corporations and promoting a production model based on small farms, free exchange of seeds and knowledge, and the respect of local communities and cultures.     

More information:

Solange Englemann : 55 41 84119769
Isabelle Delforge : 55 41 842 92970