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India should oppose biotech industry pushing terminator seeds

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Mar 20 (UNI) With the 8th Conference of Parties (COP-8) beginning in Curitiba, Brazil and expecting to take up terminator technology issue, civil society groups today asked the India government not to yield to pressure of developed countries and biotech industry in allowing the introduction of terminator seed technology which will ruin millions of small farmers of the country.

Already, South Against Genetic Engineering (SAGE), a network of campaigners from southern states sounded an alert to the governmernt that the US was aggressively pushing its genetic engineering industry all over the world and India was its latest target.

The 'terminator technology' pertains to Genetic Use Restriction Technology (GURTS) a new technology that would ultimately usurp the farmers right to save seed for the next crop.

But the terminator seeds cannot be used for growing the next crop since the new technology render them sterile and do not germinate.

The recent US-India agricultural agreements provide another frightening context to introduce the terminator technology into Indian agriculture, said Dr Devinder Sharma, Chairperson, Forum Biotechnology and Food Security, and Ms Kanchi Kohli, Kalpvriksh, told the mediapersons here today.

Earlier, COP-5 in 2000 banned the use of terminator technology worldwide as persuant to Convention of Biologial Diversity (CBD)to which India is also a signatory.

But the working group on traditional knowledge, innovation and practices of indigenous communities and small farmers under COIP held in Granada, Spain in January 2006, had watered down the current moratorium on the terminator technology by introducing a clause 'case-by-case' consideration by the national government of the use of the new technology.

This, infact, is preparing a ground for introducing the terminator technology as Canada, Australia and New Zealand backed by USA (which is not even signatory to CBD) already pressurising the countries to annul the ban on terminator technology.

Dr Sharma and Ms Kohli sought to remind that India is committed to defending indigenous seed, knowledge systems and its rich biodiversity and would stick to its earlier position on the issue.

UNI/JSS ARB LR KP1833

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