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GE - mixed news catch up #1



1) Shoppers go organic after GM food scare
2) Brazil could allow AgrEvo transgenic corn by June
3) JUDGE ASSAILS SECRECY, HALTS YELLOWSTONE "BIOPROSPECTING" 
PRODUCTS ARE WORTH MILLIONS 
4) Malaysia: Panel given three months to draft law on biosafety 
5) CORPORATE POWER SILENCES RBGH CRITICS, PANEL SAYS 
6) U.S. Awareness Slowly Growing Of EU Biotech Crop Concerns
7) New report from RAFI details over 2 dozen "Terminator II" 


Today's UK News The Observer
1) Shoppers go organic after GM food scare

Shoppers go organic after GM food scare Supermarkets slap premiums of up 
to 169 per cent on 'green' groceries
By Sarah Ryle, Consumer 
Affairs Correspondent 
Sunday March 28, 1999

Supermarkets are charging premiums of up to 169 per cent for organic food 
while more and more consumers are looking for chemical-free produce in the 
wake of the health scare about genetically modified food.
Organic farmers fear they will suffer if price gaps are fixed at an 
unreasonable level. They argue that an average premium of 30 per cent is 
justifiable because it reflects the true increased cost of production. The 
supermarkets deny cashing in on the food safety scare, but several reported 
that demand for 'natural', chemical-free food doubled in the following 
weeks. An Observer survey of food on sale at four leading supermarkets - 
Tesco, Sainsbury, Safeway and Waitrose (which came top of the Consumers' 
Association organic food survey six months ago) - showed a huge difference 
in the premiums they charge.
Sainsbury and Waitrose, which have the most extensive range, have the 
lowest mark-ups with the overall difference between their organic and 
conventional baskets 37 per cent and 41 per cent lower than their 
competitors respectively.
But within these averages were some very high premiums with price 
differences of 72 per cent between organic and non-organic beef; 118 
percent on sugar; 91 per cent on milk; and 86 per cent on apples. Organic 
carrots were twice the 
price and an organic chicken had a mark-up of 169 per cent.
Waitrose agronomist Alan Wilson said the premiums on milk were because 
non-organic milk has become much cheaper, but he admitted that many 
consumers would be 'put off by the prices'.
He added that there was 'a huge shortage' of organic milk and other fresh 
produce and that growing consumer demand drove prices up. Policies to 
encourage organic farmers, already in place, are expected to increase 
volumes.
The chairman of the Soil Association, Helen Browning, a farmer and supplier 
to leading supermarkets, accepted that shortages were a serious concern 
for the embryonic organic-food industry - but she added that the premiums 
on supermarket bread were not justified. Organic bread at Safeway was more 
than double an almost identical conventional variety. At Sainsbury, the 
mark-up was 61 per cent.
According to the Soil Association's agricultural development director, 
Simon Brenman, the raw ingredients account for only 10 per cent of the 
loaf on the shelf. 'If it is the case that the middlemen are making a 
killing, then I am quite sure it should be exposed. But we need to look at 
it very carefully,' he said.
Tesco denied that it was ripping off farmers at one end of the chain and 
consumers at the other. 'Our buyers are paying 200 per cent more for 
organic 
carrots than for conventional ones, so the premium of 100 per cent on the 
shelf is not extreme,' said a spokesman.
Peter Segger, head of the Organic Farm Foods Co-op in the Welsh Borders, 
supplies apples to supermarkets and said he was 'flabbergasted' by the 
prices being charged - especially the 2.83per kilo at Waitrose. He added 
that there was little justification for huge differentials on dairy, beef 
or lamb products. 
The price gaps on organic and non-organic bag at Safeway and Tesco were 87 
per cent and 82 per cent respectively.
The Consumers' Association said the Monopolies and Mergers Commission 
should include organic food prices in the investigation of the supermarket 
sector recommended last week by the Office of Fair Trading.
=====================================
Monday March 29, 3:10 pm Eastern Time
2) Brazil could allow AgrEvo transgenic corn by June
SAO PAULO, March 29 (Reuters) - Brazil's government is expected to 
approve by June the safety of genetically-modified corn produced by a local 
unit of German biotechnology joint venture AgrEvo, a company executive 
said on Monday.
``We submitted the first petition for final clearance in December and last 
week we received two additional questions. I 
could say (safety approval will be granted) by June,'' said Andre Abreu, 
head of AgrEvo's biotechnology program in 
Brazil.
AgrEvo is an agribusiness joint venture between Germany's Hoechst AG (quote 
from Yahoo! UK & Ireland: HOEG.F) and 
Schering AG (quote from Yahoo! UK & Ireland: SCHG.F).
Government safety approval would allow AgrEvo's herbicide-resistant 
LibertyLink corn to be regulated like any other 
agricultural product and clear the major hurdle for seed sales in Brazil 
next year, Abreu told Reuters.
If successful, LibertyLink corn would be the second genetically-modified 
crop to win safety approval from Brazil's 
National Commission for Biological Security (CTNBio) for commercialization, 
and would then have to be registered with 
the Agriculture Ministry before seed sales could begin.
CTNBio is charged with the approval, or rejection, of AgrEvo's application 
for safety approval.
Brazil broke its ban on transgenic crops last September when it approved 
the safety of Monsanto Co's (NYSE:MTC - 
news) Roundup Ready genetically-modified soybeans, which are still awaiting 
registration for seed sales expected later 
this year.
Speaking to Reuters on the fringes of a two-day biotechnology conference, 
Abreu said he expected seed sales of AgrEvo 
corn to start next year and cover 15,000 hectares.
Farmers would sow LibertyLink corn over 300,000 hectares within three to 
four years, he said, adding that Brazil's planted 
corn area currently stood at some 12 million hectares.
CTNBio President Luiz Antonio Barreto de Castro said he saw no obstacles to 
approval of LibertyLink corn by June.
``I don't see a problem personally to approve it. I think it will be 
resolved after the two (monthly) meetings,'' he said.
Castro said he expected less controversy over granting safety approval to 
LibertyLink corn than seen over Monsanto's 
Roundup Ready soybeans.
=============================
2) Brazil could allow AgrEvo transgenic corn by June

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Those geysers and hot springs draw more than tourists to 
Yellowstone National Park. With the government's blessing, 
"bioprospectors" are showing up to mine the bubbling thermal 
waters for organisms that could be worth millions of dollars.
But in a court ruling announced Thursday, a federal judge in the District 
of Columbia halted a 
Yellowstone bioprospecting deal until potential environmental damage is 
weighed.
The ruling could be important in the biotechnology-rich St. Louis- area. 
The Missouri Botanical 
Garden and [ Monsanto Co. ] have been leaders globally in bioprospecting 
for plants that can be 
used in pharmaceuticals and, more recently, in genetically engineered crops.
The court opinion was written by U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth, 
who suggested that the 
government should not be keeping details of such arrangements secret and 
that the public should 
have a say when companies want to tap resources on government land.
"Essentially, the future of bioprospecting on federal lands is a work in 
progress, but the 
government as of yet has not engaged in any public debate on the issue nor 
made any definitive 
policy statement through regulations or less formal means," the judge wrote.
A trial later could decide whether the government is acting legally and 
whether bioprospecting at 
Yellowstone will continue. But for now, the government's arrangement with 
Diversa, a San 
Diego-based biotechnology company, is suspended.
Monsanto's David Corley said that his company had operated on federal 
lands in the past but that 
he knew of no current projects. He said Monsanto and its agents are 
careful when collecting in 
sensitive lands not to endanger the surrounding environment. Missouri 
Botanical Garden experts 
were not immediately available for comment.
The Edmonds Institute, a Washington state nonprofit group that sued the 
government, said the 
ruling paves the way for protecting the environment and giving the public 
a say in bioprospecting 
on federal land.
Parties engaged in bioprospecting usually operate in secret. In the 
Yellowstone case, the 
government even refused requests by Congress for details of the arrangement.
Mike Bader, an ex-forest ranger and executive director of the Alliance for 
the Rockies, said the 
ruling has "big implications for how these resources are going to be 
managed and whether they 
will be adequately protected. .o.o. We're talking about a modern-day gold 
rush" in hunting genetic 
materials.
The stakes are enormous. In his ruling, Lamberth noted that the patent on 
an enzyme found in a 
Yellowstone pool near Old Faithful in 1966 was sold for $300 million and 
now generates $100 
million a year in revenue. None of those proceeds are returned to 
Yellowstone or to taxpayers.
"As the benefits of biotechnology have become increasingly visible, the 
demand for 
bioprospecting has also grown," Lamberth wrote. "This increased demand 
places greater and 
greater value on places like Yellowstone National Park that have a high 
level of biological 
diversity."
The deal in question was described as novel when it was announced in front 
of television cameras 
in August 1997 with Vice President Al Gore and Interior Secretary Bruce 
Babbitt on hand.
Unlike previous bioprospecting ventures, the arrangement with Diversa 
called for sharing 
potential royalties with the park. The government has declined to say how 
much beyond 
disclosing that Yellowstone will receive $20,000 annual payments and 
royalties of 0.5 percent to 
10 percent of products.
Organisms from Yellowstone's hot, bubbling waters are desirable because of 
their ability to 
withstand extremely high temperatures. They could become additives that 
improve paint, gold 
extraction, DNA fingerprinting and a host of products.
(Copyright 1999)
_____via IntellX_____

Publication Date: March 26, 1999
=========================

4) Malaysia: Panel given three months to draft law on biosafety 
The New Straits Times
KUALA LUMPUR, Wed. - The Genetic Modification 
Advisory Committee (GMAC) has been given three months to 
come up with the first draft of national legislation on biosafety.
It will regulate the introduction, use and handling of genetically 
modified organisms (GMOs), Science, Technology and Environment Minister 
Datuk Law Hieng 
Ding said today.
Work on the proposed Gene Act is expected to be completed by year's end, 
in a bid to keep up 
with rapid developments in food and plant biotechnology.
"We will have to decide whether to have a single comprehensive law on 
biosafety or a sectoral 
one, as several agencies are involved in biosafety issues."
"With this decision, it will also be possible to identify the agency that 
will be responsible for 
enforcement."
GMAC, set up under the ministry's National Committee on Biodiversity in 
1996, will look at 
legislation in use in Europe, the Philippines and Scandinavian countries.
While the labelling of genetically modified foods would be addressed, Law 
said it did not 
necessarily mean that this would be made mandatory here.
Consumers in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan are actively 
campaigning for 
mandatory segregation and labelling of transgenic crops and foods.
"GMAC will have to take into account the impact of labelling on downstream 
products of our 
export commodities like palm oil and cocoa," Law said.
"It is not possible for us to take a stand on the issue immediately, as we 
will have to examine 
how the national position would be affected by such a move."
GMAC will work with authorities like the Ministries of Health, Agriculture 
and Primary 
Industries on related issues, and may consult private biotechnology 
companies on the law "if the 
need arises".
Another key provision of legislation will be on an "advance information 
agreement" to keep track 
of the entry of GMOs into the country, and to reduce associated risks.
Law also confirmed that GMAC would initiate an awareness and education 
programme on 
biosafety and biotechnology, so that the public was kept informed of 
related issues.
"The ministry is seriously concerned about consumer apprehension about 
genetically modified 
foods and its effect on human health," he said.
As the relevant government agencies, universities and a non-governmental 
organisation, Third 
World Network, were represented in GMAC, decisions would reflect all concerns.
On consumer calls to ban the import of transgenic (gene-altered) soyabean 
following the recent 
link between this and allergic reactions, Law said available scientific 
findings and documents 
would be studied.
However, no moratorium would be imposed on the import of transgenic 
soyabean for food and 
animal feed here "until findings to the contrary" with regard to its 
safety for human health.
Transgenic soyabean has been available in Malaysia since GMAC approved its 
import in 1997 
based on documents supplied by the producer, [ Monsanto ] .
This is the biggest of five transnational firms developing and marketing 
transgenic food and 
industrial crops like wheat and corn.
(Copyright 1999)
_____via IntellX_____

Publication Date: March 25, 1999
=========================
5) CORPORATE POWER SILENCES RBGH CRITICS, PANEL SAYS 
The Capital Times
Last week, the European Union stated that milk from 
rBGH-treated cows could increase the risk of breast and 
prostate cancer in humans.
Canada, Japan and Australia have banned the genetically 
engineered dairy hormone, citing concerns about its effects on animals and 
humans.
Yet farmers in the United States are injecting rBGH into dairy cows from 
coast to coast.
"What is it they know in Canada, Europe, Australia and Japan that we 
don't?" journalist Steve 
Wilson asked a University of Wisconsin audience Wednesday.
Plenty, according to Wilson, who maintains that a combination of forces is 
keeping the U.S. 
press silent on a critical food safety issue.
Wilson and Jane Akre, two veteran investigative television reporters, 
discussed the rBGH 
controversy during this week's UW- Madison Democracy Teach-In. They were 
joined by John 
Stauber of Madison-based PR Watch.
Wilson and Akre were fired by Fox News in Tampa, Fla., after producing a 
four-part series 
about the potential risks of rBGH milk. The television station maintains 
that the husband-wife 
team were dismissed for being "difficult to work with." But Wilson and 
Akre say the reason was 
their story, which was critical of the hormone and drew the ire of its 
manufacturer, biotech giant 
[ Monsanto Co. ]
"In February of 1997, right before the story was set to run, the letters 
(from Monsanto) started 
coming, saying the story was all wrong and predicting dire consequences if 
we ran it," Akre said.
Several months later, she said, the story was shelved and she and Wilson 
were out of work.
Stauber, who studies the influence of corporations and public relations 
professionals, said such 
situations are all too typical. The reasons, he said, have much to do with 
three major forces in 
America:
*The media. Corporate ownership of major news outlets, concern about angry 
advertisers and 
falling standards are causing many journalists to turn away from 
investigative reporting and 
toward easier, more simplistic work, he said. When reporters like Wilson 
and Akre take the 
initiative, he said, they are often thwarted by their superiors. That 
silence allows corporations to 
"spin" their products unchallenged.
"The fact the U.S. media haven't paid attention to rBGH has allowed the 
controversy to drop off 
the front page," he said.
*Corporations. With savvy public relations campaigns and deep pockets, 
corporations like 
Monsanto have become adept at creating a positive image of products like 
rBGH even as they 
silence critics, Stauber said.
Such companies also tend to have friends in high places, he contended.
*Public opinion. More than any other population, Americans believe deeply 
in the benefits of 
scientific progress, Stauber said, a belief that leads many to view 
critics with suspicion.
"There's almost a patriotic lock step that has developed to the idea that 
technology is going to be 
beneficial," he said.
But rBGH could still receive the attention they feel it deserves, the 
panelists agreed. In December, 
a U.S. consumer group called on the FDA to pull bovine growth hormone off 
the market, 
charging the agency overlooked key evidence about the drug's safety. (The 
agency had 180 days 
to conduct the investigation and either reject the claim or pull the drug.)
Continued opposition in Canada and Europe, backed by research into the 
hormone that has been 
difficult to obtain here, is beginning to gain attention in the United States.
And Wilson and Akre, who are suing Fox for allegedly firing them under 
pressure from 
Monsanto, are traveling around the United States to raise public awareness 
of the hormone's 
potential downside.
More attention can only work to the benefit of American consumers, Stauber 
said.
"I think Americans are extremely interested," he said.
(Copyright (c) Madison Newspapers, Inc. 1999)
_____via IntellX_____

Publication Date: March 25, 1999
==========================
[The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition]
Dow Jones Newswires -- March 25, 1999
Dow Jones Newswires
6) U.S. Awareness Slowly Growing Of EU Biotech Crop Concerns
By DANIEL ROSENBERG 
Dow Jones Newswires
CHICAGO -- With Europe increasingly reluctant to import genetically 
modified crops, U.S. farm groups and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are 
taking steps to raise producers' awareness.
However, many U.S. farmers don't realize the extent of Europe's concerns, 
processors and producers say.
"I'm afraid there's a disconnect - farmers don't see the tie between the 
decisions they make and foreign markets," said Dave Erickson, a corn and 
soybean farmer in Altoona, Ill.
Last week, the National Corn Growers Association warned farmers to "get 
the facts" before they plant genetically modified seeds not approved for 
export to the European Union. "If the biotech hybrid you plant isn't 
approved for export, take the necessary steps to keep harvested grain in 
the domestic distribution chain and out of export channels," the NCGA said 
on its web site.
The sole variety of U.S. genetically modified soybeans - Monsanto's 
"Roundup Ready" - has E.U. approval. But many European consumers aren't 
convinced about the safety of any genetically modified products, even those 
approved by the E.U., the American Soybean Association acknowledged. 
.......
Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI) News Release 
29 March 1999 
http://www.rafi.org

** TRAITOR TECHNOLOGY: "Damaged Goods" from the Gene Giants **
------------------------------------------------------- 
7) New report from RAFI details over 2 dozen "Terminator II" 
patents that link suicide seeds to proprietary chemicals, 
genetically-weakened plants, and the patented power to 
make genetically-inviable plants rise from the dead. 
-------------------------------------------------------
Beyond the prognostications of even its most pessimistic critics, 
Terminator science is snowballing into the corporate profit centre of the 
next decade and beyond. And, if the major seed and agrochemical 
multinationals have their way, Terminator and Traitor (negative trait) 
technologies will come on the heels of the new millennium to a farm near 
you. RAFI's Executive Director Pat Mooney declares, "With this report and 
our previous work on the Terminator, RAFI is sounding the alarm that 
without government action, these technologies will be commercialized within 
a few years with potentially disastrous consequences."
Says RAFI Programme Officer Edward Hammond, "Since we discovered the 
original Terminator patent a year ago, even at our most pessimistic we 
never forecast negative trait genetic engineering to explode as quickly as 
it has." Most observers thought there would be a delay of two or three 
years before second and third generation Terminator refinements were 
patented; but instead says Hammond, "a survey of patent offices reveals 
that the cat is completely out of the bag. In fact, the original Terminator 
may be a dead letter because enhanced Terminator seeds are already in the 
laboratory."
RAFI reports that every Gene Giant multinational has patented, or admits it 
is working on genetically-sterilized or chemically-dependent seeds. RAFI's 
report provides details and analysis on over two dozen such patents 
recently obtained by 12 institutions. The patents seek to exploit - or 
could exploit - new genetic engineering techniques that use inducible 
promoters to disable critical plant functions governing reproduction, 
disease resistance, and seed viability.
If commercialization of such seeds proceeds, farmers worldwide will be 
tangled in an expensive web of chemicals, intellectual property, and 
disabled germplasm that leads to bioserfdom. The technology spells 
disaster for farmers and global food security because over three quarters 
of the world's farmers - mainly poor farmers - depend on farm saved seed. 
The complete removal of farmers from the age-old process of plant breeding 
through sterilized seed could also signify a disastrous narrowing of the 
genepool on which everyone depends for food security.
SCARY SCOPE: According to RAFI's Research Director Hope Shand, "The 
patents describe the use of external chemicals to turn on and off genetic 
traits in plants and go well beyond DeltaPine's original 'Terminator' 
patent. They are techniques to control a wide variety of 'input' and 
'output' (production and processing) traits by spraying with proprietary 
herbicides or fertilizers. Others take us beyond crop plants to the use of 
Terminator-style tactics on insects and even possibly mammals."
KILLER GENES, JUNKIE SEEDS, AND MODERN-DAY "MIRACLES": Some patents aim to 
switch the plant's germination on or off. AstraZeneca's Verminator patents 
use what it calls 'killer genes' for this purpose. Yet AstraZeneca has 
been telling governments, scientists, and the press that despite their 
continuing pursuit of its patents around the world, they won't stop farmers 
from saving seed. RAFI's Pat Mooney says, "Something didn't add up, so we 
set out to investigate."
Newly discovered patent claims explain the confusing AstraZeneca position. 
The new patents refine AstraZeneca's "Verminator" technology that links 
plant growth and germination to repeated application of proprietary 
chemicals. Without specific patented chemicals, the plant doesn't grow. 
"Essentially," says RAFI's Edward Hammond, "they're talking about the 
manufacture of junkie plants that are physically dependent on a patented 
chemical cocktail." AstraZeneca says it will patent the technology in 77 
countries.
See AstraZeneca's Verminator II patent: 
<http://wo.dips.org/search97cgi/s97is.dll?Action=View&ViewTemplate=ep/en/vi
ewer.h>http://wo.dips.org/search97cgi/s97is.dll?Action=View&ViewTemplate=ep
/en/viewer.h 
ts&SearchType=4&VdkVgwKey=9735983
Says RAFI's Mooney, "So, you see AstraZeneca and the other Gene Giants 
don't want farmers to buy new seed every year so much as to force them to 
repurchase their old seed." Monsanto is already pioneering such 'pay by 
the generation' techniques through legal means - the infamous grower 
agreements - in the US and Canada; but research is steering toward 
biological means of achieving the same sad end. Mooney says "It will be 
vastly more profitable for multinationals to sell seeds programmed to 
commit suicide at harvest so that farmers must pay the company to obtain 
the chemicals to have them re-activated for the next planting - either 
through a seed conditioning process or through the purchase of a 
specialized chemicals that bring saved seed back to life, Lazarus-style."
"In effect, this shifts all the seed costs to farmers, and the companies 
won't have to multiply, ship, and warehouse massive seed stocks," Hammond 
adds, "As the seed oligopoly strengthens, companies will have less and less 
incentive to invest in plant breeding research, after all they'll already 
have the farmers in a position of utter dependency." Pat Mooney agrees, 
"With these 'Lazarus-link seeds' the advertising investment will continue 
but the research investment will wither away."
GENETIC MUTILATION: An especially disturbing feature of some of the new 
patents profiled in RAFI's report is the deliberate disabling of natural 
plant functions that help to fight disease. Swiss biotech giant Novartis 
is most advanced in this aspect of Traitor technology. Novartis blandly 
refers to it as "inactivation of endogenous regulation" so that "genes 
which are natively regulated can be regulated exclusively by the 
application to the plant of a chemical regulator."
Among the genes which Novartis can control in this manner are patented SAR 
(systemic acquired resistance) genes which are critical to plant's ability 
to fight off infections from many viruses and bacteria. Thus, Novartis has 
patented techniques to create plants with natural healthy functions turned 
off. "The only way to turn them back on and fix these 'damaged goods' " 
says RAFI's Edward Hammond, "is, well, you guessed it, the application of a 
propietary chemical."

8) See the Novartis antisense regulation of SAR systems patent: 
TIGHT-LIPPED MONSANTO: Caught like a deer in the headlights during recent 
battles over genetically-modified plants - especially in Europe - Monsanto 
has sought to deflect questions and criticism about Terminator technology 
by saying that the Terminator belongs to its soon-to-be subsidiary Delta 
and Pine Land Company. As such, the oft-repeated PR position goes, Monsanto 
doesn't yet have access to the Terminator and can't inform concerned 
governments and people about plans for Terminator seed.
"It's been their mantra across the world." says RAFI's Mooney, "We've heard 
the same confusing statements from Monsanto representatives in New Zealand, 
India, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Brazil, the EU, and the US." Even last week, at a 
Harvard University presentation, Monsanto's representative similarly 
shrugged off the question. "In fact," says RAFI's Mooney, "it's a 
deliberate ploy - or, at best, incomplete information - that obfuscates 
facts about the company's own research agenda. Monsanto already has its 
own in-house, patented Terminator technology, which it says it will patent 
in a whopping 89 countries. Obviously, the company is not being 
forthright. If Monsanto doesn't start coming clean, it risks further 
damage to its already tarnished image."
See Monsanto's Terminator II patent: 
<http://wo.dips.org/search97cgi/s97is.dll?Action=View&ViewTemplate=ep/en/vi
ewer.h>http://wo.dips.org/search97cgi/s97is.dll?Action=View&ViewTemplate=ep
/en/viewer.h 
ts&SearchType=4&VdkVgwKey=9744465
WILL TERMINATOR WORK? RAFI notes that some plant scientists are skeptical 
that Traitor Technology will work successfully in the field. Monsanto, one 
of the original Traitor Tech proponents, is encouraging this view. There 
is no doubt that Traitor Tech will be continually refined as it moves 
toward the market; but terminator plants are already in the greenhouse and 
profit estimates are being calculated. "It's only a matter of time. Every 
major pesticide-producing Gene Giant is hard at work perfecting the 
technology." Shand adds, "Companies don't patent for the fun of the 
paperwork and paying lawyer's fees. Those who think corporations will drop 
the Terminator - or think it won't make it to market - are living in 
Fantasyland. There's too much money to be made. Unless it is banned by 
governments, Terminator is going to happen, and probably sooner rather than 
later."
WILL FARMERS BUY IT? Delta & Pine Land and Monsanto insist that no one 
will force farmers to buy Terminator seed. The real question is, will 
farmers have a choice? The commercial seed industry is imploding, and a 
handful of Gene Giants already control a rapidly expanding share of major 
seed markets. After DuPont announced earlier this month that it would buy 
Pioneer Hi-Bred, the world's largest seed company, the Wall Street Journal 
concluded that the deal "effectively divides" most of the US seed industry 
between DuPont and Monsanto. With the disappearance of public sector plant 
breeders, farmers are becoming increasingly vulnerable and have fewer 
choices in the marketplace.
TERMINATING THE TERMINATOR: RAFI and its partners around the world are 
contacting governments asking them to declare all of the Terminator-style 
patent claims as contrary to ordre public. In January, Global Response (a 
US based non-profit organization) encouraged its 4,000 members in forty 
countries to write to the Director-General of FAO asking him to oppose the 
Terminator as a matter of world food security. FAO has replied that 
governments may take up the issue in Rome April 19 to 23 during the meeting 
of the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. RAFI 
will be at that meeting and will make a presentation to governments. 
Further, concerned individuals from 71 countries have sent almost 7,000 
letters to US Agriculture Secretary Glickman asking him to ban the 
Terminator.
Although global opposition is mounting, RAFI worries that the UN's 
Biodiversity Convention may go "soft" on the environmental and social 
implications of the technology. When the Convention meets in Montreal in 
June, it is to receive a scientific study on Terminator. "We will read and 
respond to that study very quickly," Pat Mooney advises.
------
For further information:
Website: <http://www.rafi.org/>http://www.rafi.org
Pat Roy Mooney, Executive Director, RAFI 
110 Osborne Street South, Suite 202 
Winnipeg, MB, R3L 1Y5 CANADA 
Tel: +1 204 453-5259 
Fax: +1 204 925-8134 
E-mail: rafi@rafi.org
Hope Shand, Research Director, RAFI 
Tel: +1 717 337-6482 
Fax: +1 717 337-6499 
E-mail: hope@rafi.org
Edward Hammond, Programme Officer, RAFI 
Tel: +1 206 323-7378 
Fax: +1 206 323-6052 
E-mail: hammond@rafi.org
----------------------------------------