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NESAWG resolution on Terminator



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Date Posted: 01/10/1999
Posted by: campaign@magiccarpet.com		
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THE NORTHEAST SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE WORKING GROUP

P.O. Box 608, Belchertown, MA; Ph: 413-323-4531; Fax: 413-323-9594

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE	 -- JANUARY 7, 1999


CONTACTS:		Elizabeth Henderson, 315-331-9029
		  	Liana Hoodes, Regional Organizer: 914-744-8448


Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG) members officially
condemned the use of public funds by USDA for the development and patenting
of the "terminator technology," at its Annual Meeting on December 12.

Members noted the profound global implications of this technology on
agriculture, biodiversity, and food security, as well as the national
implications of using U.S. tax dollars on the development and licensing of
a technology that will solely benefit a private corporation, while causing
hardship to small farmers around the world.  The terminator technology
creates plants whose seeds will not produce new plants the following year.

"The "terminator" seed-sterilizing technology threatens to eliminate the
age-old right of farmers to save seed from their harvest, jeopardizing the
food security of 1.4 billion people -- resource poor farmers in the south
-- who depend on farm-saved seed," noted Hope Shand of Rural Advancement
Foundation International (RAFI), an organization actively working against
this technology.

"Both the patent and the technology should be rejected on the basis of
public morality," noted NESAWG member Elizabeth Henderson of NOFA-NY.
"Farmers everywhere must have the right to save seed and develop
locally-adapted strains of a plant variety."

"In addition to human rights concerns, there are serious biosafety concerns
with this technology," Henderson added.  "There is the possibility that the
sterility trait of this seed could infect open-pollinated crops growing
nearby.  Because this technology is largely untested, this is an important
concern."

In its resolution, NESAWG members demanded that USDA, as patent-holder,
permanently refrain from licensing any use of the patent.

More information about details of the "terminator technology" is available
from the Rural Advancement Foundation International at: www.rafi.org.

The Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG) is a broad
network of groups in the Northeast United States committed to building a
more sustainable and just regional food and agriculture system.
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THE NORTHEAST SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE WORKING GROUP

P.O. Box 608, Belchertown, MA; Ph: 413-323-4531; Fax: 413-323-9594

RESOLUTION


Whereas the new genetic technology for controlling "plant gene expression"
(US patent # 5,723,765) renders farm-saved seed sterile;

Whereas this technology will require farmers and gardeners in the US and
abroad to purchase new seed every year, thereby strengthening the control
of a few corporations over the seed supply and ultimately our food supply;

Whereas genetic seed sterilization is a threat to global food security
because over 1.4 billion people depend on farm-saved seed as their primary
seed source;

Whereas this technology poses serious risks to the environment because of
the potential spread, via pollen, of the sterility trait to other plants;

Whereas farm-saved seed is critical to farmer selection and breeding for
sustainable agriculture;

The members of the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group resolve
that:

We condemn the use of public funds by USDA for the development and
patenting of the "terminator technology" and any similar genetic seed
sterilization technology, and

We demand that USDA, as co-owner of US patent 5,723,765 permanently refrain
from licensing any use of this patent, cease all research and development
on genetic seed sterilization, and withdraw all patent applications on the
technology in foreign jurisdictions.




*****************************************************
Liana Hoodes
National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture
P.O. Box 396
Pine Bush, NY  12566
P: 914-744-8448; F: 914-744-8477
campaign@magiccarpet.com



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