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Brazil Set to Unleash Terminator Threat

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page and our Millions Against Monsanto page.

Today Brazil's Judicial Commission (Comissao de Constituicao e Justiça e de Cidadania) is slated to rule on the constitutionality of a proposed bill (PL 268/2007) that will allow genetically engineered sterility in seeds, known as Terminator Technology. If the bill gains the approval of the Commission, it could quickly come to a vote in Congress. Brazil's national law to ban Terminator has been under threat since it was enacted 8 years ago, but this most recent congressional action has caused the most serious alarm since it could swiftly overturn the ban.

"It's shocking that Brazil is on the verge of reversing its national position on suicide seeds. If the government is at all sincere about its desire to eliminate hunger, it can't allow a law that would ultimately threaten farmers and undermine their ability to grow food," says Maria Jose Guazzelli of Brazil's Centro Ecologico. "Brazil can't reach a goal of 'Zero Hunger' with Zero Farmers."

Since it first came to public light in 1998, Terminator technology has been widely condemned as a threat to biodiversity, farmers and food sovereignty. Initially developed by the world's largest seed and agrochemical firms and the US Department of Agriculture, Terminator would prevent farmers from saving seeds from their harvest and would insure their dependence on multinational firms. At present, 6 multinational (Syngenta, Bayer, BASF, Dow, Monsanto, DuPont) control 60% of the global commercial seed market and 76% of the agrochemical market.

193 Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity are unequivocal about Terminator, unanimously agreeing on a de facto moratorium in 2000, which was strengthened at the Conference of the Parties in 2006, under the presidency of Brazil.  
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