More on Terminator

Tue, Sep 30, 2008


Victory – But More Action Needed

“Terminator seeds are a weapon of mass destruction and an assault on our food sovereignty,” say the women of Via Campesina

At a UN meeting in January 2006 the Canadian government supported the successful move by Australia to allow Terminator to be researched and studied on a “case by case risk assessment basis”. This would have lead to field trials of Terminator and an end to the existing international moratorium.

Strong protest from farmers, indigenous peoples and citizens’ groups in Canada and around the world forced the Canadian Government to back down from this position. Consequently, at the major UN Convention on Biological Diversity meeting in March 2006, the moratorium was upheld and even slightly strengthened.

But the moratorium only exists as long as all governments want it to. The biotechnology industry is continuing to push genetic sterile seed technology as a tool for greater corporate control and profits.

“Terminator will rear its ugly head at the next UN Convention on Biological Diversity meeting in 2008. The only solution is a total ban on the technology once and for all,” says Pat Mooney of ETC Group. “Now all national governments must enact national bans on Terminator as Brazil and India have done.”

“Terminator directly threatens our life, our culture and our identity as Indigenous peoples”, said Viviana Figueroa of the Ocumazo indigenous community in Argentina on behalf of the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity, who are calling for a world ban on Terminator technology.

Terminator and Corporate Control
of the World’s Seeds

Purpose of Terminator
The only purpose of Terminator is to make seeds sterile. Terminator refers to plants that have been genetically engineered to render sterile seeds at harvest (it is also called Genetic Use Restriction Technology or GURTS) through an inducible molecular mechanism, which means that the gene for seed sterility or germination can be turned on or off from the outside – by treating the plants with a chemical or other factor. Terminator technology was developed by the multinational seed/agrochemical industry and the United States government to prevent farmers from saving and re-planting harvested seed. Terminator has not yet been commercialized or field-tested but tests are currently being conducted in greenhouses in the United States

Corporate Control
Ten seed companies control half of the world’s commercial seed sales. One company, Monsanto, accounted for almost 90% of the total GM crop area worldwide in 2004. Monsanto also controls 41% of the global maize market and over one-fourth of the commercial soybean market (both conventional and GM seed). If Terminator is commercialized, seed companies will be quick to incorporate Terminator traits into all commercial varieties. Ultimately, this means fewer choices for farmers.

World’s Top 10 Seed Companies (millions), 2004
1. Monsanto* (includes Seminis) $2,803
2. Dupont* $2600
3. Syngenta* $1239
4. Limagrain $1044
5. KWS $622
6. Land O’Lakes $538
7. Sakata $416
8. Bayer $387
9. Takii $366
10. DLF-Trifolium $320

Source: ETC Group, September 2005, “Global Seed Industry Concentration – 2005”,

Corporate Control of Seed Increases Hunger

“Taking control of seeds away from farmers actually causes more hunger,” says the Institute for Food and Development Policy, otherwise known as Food First. “Corporate concentration of our food system will continue to destroy the lives and livelihoods of millions of small farmers throughout the world (…) unless we take steps to promote proven, earth friendly alternatives.”

“Our research proves that diversified family farms are far more productive than large corporate farms.”

Food First was founded by Frances Moore Lappe, author of Diet For A Small Planet, to build a just global food system.


To learn more about
Terminator and
international farmer protest,
we encourage you to visit

To learn more about the Canadian and the International campaigns to ban Terminator technology, we encourage you to contact the following organizations:

Canadian Biotechnology Action Network

Inter Pares

National Farmers Union

Seeds of Survival
(USC Canada)

ARTICLE: Deconstructing Dinner “The Colonization of the Canadian Farmer: Saskatchewan Organic Farmers vs. Monsanto/Bayer”

Food First: See especially Food First’s 4-page backgrounder 12 Myths about Hunger as well as their book – World Hunger: 12 Myths by Frances Moore Lappe, Joseph Collins & Peter Rosset (2006).

Canadian Council for International Co-operation:
Click on ‘Campaigns’ and ‘Canadian Food Security
Policy Group’.

FIAN International, Defending the Right to Food Worldwide: It provides information on campaigns around the world to achieve the right to food.

Rights & Democracy.On the ‘search’ tab, enter ‘food’ to see publications, etc on the right to food

One Response to “More on Terminator”

  1. JAZZY Says:

    IF Canadaian or American Governments allow MONSANTO to let out of the bag the Terminator seed, it is without a doubt that this seed technology will lead to world hunger. This leads me to believe that maybe our governments both have their hands in the bag. somewhere people in government are making a killing, how much is the billion $ question . This is real people and we need to stand up for our rights Just like Europe. We need to know what the hell were eating! don’t you want to know? read all you can on GMO’s you’ll die thinking about it or our kids will in the near future. if we don’t ask the simple question of WHY?

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