Terminator is bad for your diet

marzo 21, 2006

Community Biodiversity Development and Conservation Network
21 March 2006, Curitiba, Brazil

GURTs is bad for your diet

On the occasion of the Eighth Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity now going on in Curitiba, Brazil, we declare that Genetic Use Restriction Technologies (GURTs) particularly Terminator technology is a threat to biodiversity and nutrition.

People’s diet and nutrition across the world have largely depended upon and benefited from the agricultural biodiversity conserved, developed and used by farmers and indigenous communities for thousands of years.

Terminator technology threatens this diversity by introducing seed sterility, which will stop farmers from saving seeds and from creating new genetic variation since they will be prevented from practicing their traditional methods of plant breeding and seed selection.

Terminator technology takes away the traditional access and control of seeds by farmers and indigenous communities and further places seeds in the hands of transnational agro-corporations who own the technology and the patents to Terminator varieties. Terminator technology can potentially contaminate non-Terminator varieties through pollen movement thus introducing and spreading sterility genes in domesticated and non-domesticated crops, spelling disaster to biodiversity and farmers’ production.

By terminating the practice of seed saving and re-use, Terminator technology will force farmers to become dependent on seed companies for their seed requirements, thus preventing farmers from selecting and using crop varieties that offer better nutrition and more diverse choices for people and consumers to eat.

Because of the consequent high cost of using and depending on corporate seeds, many of the world’s small farmers will be forced off their farms, thus affecting local and global food production and food security. This will likely lead to the takeover of family farms by corporate agribusiness, many of which are also linked to agro-chemical seed companies and food retail giants, who will then further dictate the food that we eat.

Besides not offering agronomic benefits to farmers, Terminator seeds do not guarantee better nutrition but on the contrary could adversely affect it by further constricting people’s food choices. It is time to reclaim our right to healthy food and good nutrition that we are gradually losing due to the aggressive
promotion of new seed technologies such as GMOs and GURTs. We say:

  • No to “case-by-case risk assessment” of GURTs in the CBD.
  • Yes to the de facto moratorium on GURTs as contained in CBD Decision V/5 Sec. III.
  • Yes to ecological and diversity based food production and nutrition for all.

Indeed, good food and nutrition are for all and not on a “case-by-case basis.” For your diet’s sake, reject GURTs.

The CBDC is a network of farmers’ and indigenous people’s organizations, NGOs and public institutions promoting community-based conservation, development and sustainable use of agro-biodiversity in different countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America.

THE CBDC NETWORK:

  • Community Technology Development Trust (CTDT) - Zimbabwe
  • Community Biodiversity Action Network (CBAN) - Sierra Leone
  • USC Mali - Mali
  • Institut De L’Environment Et de Recherches Agricoles (INERA) - Burkina Faso
  • SEARICE - Philippines
  • Hug Muang Nan Network - Thailand
  • Mekong Delta Farming Systems Development & Research Institute, Cantho University - Vietnam
  • BUCAP Vietnam
  • BUCAP Bhutan
  • BUCAP Lao PDR
  • Instituto Mayor Campesino (IMCA) - Colombia
  • Centro de Education y Technologia para el Desarollo del Sur (CET SUR) - Chile
  • Assesoria e Servico a Projectos em Agricultura Alternativa (AS-PTA) - Brazil
  • Centro de Investigacion Educacion y Desarrollo (CIED), Peru
  • Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration (ETC Group), Canada
  • Center for Genetic Resources, The Netherlands (CGN) - The Netherlands
  • Norwegian Center for International Agricultural Development (NORAGRIC) - Norway