info4action archive

[Index][Thread]

GE - mixed catch up Sept 10th



1) UK Biotech firm sinks amid GM crop worries - September 7, 1999
LONDON (Reuters) 
2) Daily Telegraph Thursday 9 September 1999 -GM crop trials 'are not tough
enough' 
By Charles Clover, Environment Editor
3) Jusco to start putting GM labels on food - Reuters† September 8, 1999
TOKYO 
4) Itochu to segregate non-GM food soybeans - Reuters September 8, 1999
TOKYO
5) Diverse views within Mercosur on GM-seeds -Montevideo, Sep 7 (IPS/Daniel
Gatti and Gustavo Gonzalez) 
6) Wednesday September 8, Strategic Diagnostics offers cheap gene crop test
CHICAGO, Sept 8 (Reuters) - 
7) TITLE: Deutsche Bank Report Now on Web 
8) Small Farms More Productive than Large Farms but Threatened by Trade
Agreements
The Institute for Food and Development Policy/Food First 
9) ENVIRONMENT-PAKISTAN: MONSANTO BALKS AT PLANT ...
OTC ISLAMABAD, (Aug. 31) IPS -
10) From: "NLP Wessex" <nlpwessex@bigfoot.com>† ELO supports ESCS GM land
register proposal Thu, 9 Sep 1999 
11) GMOs: a land register for transgenic crops The European Society of
Chartered 
12) According to the front page of the UK's 'Farming News' September 10th
1999 
UK Agriculture Minister Nick Brown had reassuring news for livestock 
producers when he opened the World Seed Conference in Cambridge earlier in 
the week.]
13) posted Friday, September 3, 1999 (Grainnet)† ADM Segregation Announcement
Throws Grain Industry into Turmoil
14) EXTRACTS FROM ESCS* BRUSSELS BRIEFING 
6 - 10 September 1999† NEW RESPONSIBILITY FOR GMOs? 


1) UK Biotech firm sinks amid GM crop worries - September 7, 1999
LONDON (Reuters) 
A small British biotechnology company that 
dreamt of producing vaccines inside gene-spliced potatoes has put 
itself up for sale after scaring potential investors with its 
links to genetically modified food. Unlisted Cambridge-based Axis 
Genetics has invited bidders after it failed to raise 10 million 
pounds (US-dollars 16.07 million) via a book building process. 
The company managed only 8.2 million pounds, which fell short of 
the minimum target that was set for the investors to keep their 
investment commitment.
It is the first case of a biotech company falling victim of the 
general backlash against genetic engineering in the UK. "It was 
not an issue with our current investors but when we went to look 
for new investors that did become a factor," Chief Executive Iain 
Cubitt told Reuters. The High Court has appointed Andrew 
Wollaston and Alan Bloom of Ernst & Young as administrators to 
look for a buyer of Axis' assets and research. Industry sources 
told Reuters that bids have already started coming in and there 
was a good chance that the company could be sold as a going 
concern, although it could go to a foreign buyer.
The company has links with several high profile organizations 
including Canadian biotech firm Biomira Inc, U.S. company AgoTec 
International, Rosewell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y. 
and Cornell University's Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant 
Research. Axis' research centered on growing potatoes with extra 
genes that would make vaccine to fight hepatitis B. Trials were 
in Phase I and there were plans to try it on tomatoes, carrots 
and corn.
"I think everybody believes this is a well-founded company with 
proven technology. It is just sad that it has come to this point. 
It is sadder that the benefits many not accrue to Britain," said 
John Sime, Chief Executive of the BioIndustry Association. The 
decline of Axis is, however, unlikely to have a ripple effect on 
rest of the biotechnology sector in the UK as most research on 
genetically modified crops and food are done by cash-rich 
multinationals like AstraZeneca Plc, Novartis AG and Monsanto Co.
These companies have recently faced strong protests in Britain 
for researching on genetically modified food. Some food companies 
have also withdrawn genetically modified items from their shop 
shelves. Axis was formed in 1993 as a spin-off from Agricultural 
Genetics and was bought out by its management in March 1995. It 
went on to raise over five million pounds through a private 
placement of shares with Credit Suisse, Schroders, ABN Amro and 
Aberdeen Asset Management. 
=========================
2) Daily Telegraph Thursday 9 September 1999 -GM crop trials 'are not tough
enough' 
By Charles Clover, Environment Editor
GOVERNMENT trials of genetically modified crops this autumn have left 
the head of Britain's first biotechnology company "uneasy" because he 
suspected that they were not rigorous enough.
John Jackson, chairman of Celltech Chiroscience, a publicly-quoted 
biopharmaceutical company with a market value of £760 million, said 
yesterday that, while he was "absolutely certain" that testing of GM 
crops should continue, he was concerned about their effect on human 
health and wildlife.
Mr Jackson, who is also chairman of the Countryside Alliance, said that 
"for some considerable time" people would have to "be alert to the 
possibility of allergy or long-term toxicity", caused by the introduced 
genes.
There was also the possibility that antibiotic marker genes, used to 
demonstrate that genetic implants had succeeded, could cause antibiotic 
resistance.
"What makes me particularly uneasy, as far as the environment is 
concerned, are the express and implied assumptions when the trials are 
designed," he said. "For example, we have read quite a lot about the 
possibility of pollen being spread by wind or by insects from the trial 
ground and hybridising with related species in the wild.
"The implied assumption is that the seed germinates where it is sown. We 
all know that, after sowing, seed can be moved by animals such as mice 
and by birds. And it is unsafe to assume that it is going to germinate 
where it is sown. It might be carried a very considerable distance and 
germinate in an area where it cannot be observed at all.
"In the pharmaceutical industry, there are very, very rigorous trial 
procedures you have to go through before you are licensed to sell a 
product to the public."
Mr Jackson has headed Celltech since it was created in 1980 with the 
help of a grant of £5 million from the National Enterprise Board, and 
the blessing of Mrs Thatcher and Sir Keith Joseph. Celltech merged this 
summer with another biotech pharmaceutical company, Chiroscience.
Mr Jackson was speaking after Axis Genetics, a Cambridge-based 
biotechnology company developing a new vaccine for Hepatitis B made from 
potatoes, went bust after failing to attract enough investment to 
continue its research. The company was forced to call in the receivers 
when investors scared by the adverse GM crop publicity failed to come up 
with the £10 million it needed even though Axis only makes 
pharmaceutical products.
However, the company admitted that it was a sister company with the same 
directors of Pestax, which supplied potatoes engineered to include a 
snowdrop gene, which were the subject of experiments by Dr Arpad 
Pusztai, of the Rowett Institute, Aberdeen, that started the health 
scare over GM foods last year.
Mr Jackson echoed the fears of the environmental group Friends of the 
Earth, which has omplained that the trials were designed to see the 
effect of the use of herbicide tolerant crops on insects but not on 
mammals and birds which eat them.
However, Brian Johnson, of English Nature, said the effects of the 
removal of insects from the food chain on animals and birds had been 
well documented over 40 years.
The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions is still 
trying to find at least 60 24-acre trial plots which will be needed next 
year for statistically significant tests of three GM varieties: 
herbicide resistant winter and spring-sown oilseed rape and fodder 
maize.
============================

3) Jusco to start putting GM labels on food - Reuters† September 8, 1999
TOKYO 

Jusco Co Ltd said it will this month become the first 
major Japanese supermarket operator to label food products based 
on the genetic origin of the crops used. Jusco, which operates 
over 300 stores nationwide, has decided to start labelling 
genetically-modified (GM) food before the government's label 
requirements are implemented from 2001, because of requests from 
consumers, a company spokesman said. "It is the responsibility of 
a retail company to disclose information that consumers want to 
know," he said.
Jusco will begin labelling private-brand food products that are 
subject to the government's labelling rules. It plans to 
gradually extend labelling to other food products, including food 
exempted from the government's label requirements such as 
vegetable oil, soy source and corn flakes, the spokesman said.
Japan's Agriculture Ministry, under pressure from consumers, 
decided last month that foods produced from GMOs must be 
specially labelled from April 2001. Japan has approved 22 
varieties of six GM crops - corn, soybeans, rapeseed, potatoes, 
cotton and tomatoes - for import and sale under its safety 
guidelines. But the government will impose labelling requirements 
on these crops and on food products that use them.
===========================

4) Itochu to segregate non-GM food soybeans - Reuters September 8, 1999
TOKYO

Japanese trading house Itochu Corp said yesterday it plans 
to import 150,000-200,000 tonnes of non-genetically modified (GM) 
food soybeans from the United States in the year beginning with 
this harvest, to secure supplies for food makers who want to 
avoid using GM crops.
"Most of our customers say they want to use non-GM food 
soybeans," a Itochu spokesman said. "There are some customers who 
don't mind using GM soybeans if they are cheap. But soybeans 
needed by such customers account for only three to four percent 
of the total food soybeans (handled by Itochu)." Itochu has 
already signed contracts with U.S. farmers through Quality 
Traders Inc (QTI), its wholly owned subsidiary based in Illinois, 
for delivery of non-GM soybeans this year, a company spokesman 
said.
QTI plans to use its 30,000-tonne storage facility in Wisconsin 
to store non-GM soybeans exclusively. Another Itochu U.S. unit, 
CGB Enterprises Inc, will cooperate with QTI in managing the crop 
segregation system, the spokesman said.
CGB Enterprises is a Louisiana-based joint venture owned equally 
by Itochu and the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative 
Associations (Zen-noh), the trading arm of Japanese farmers' 
cooperatives. CGB has 70 storage facilities in the United States, 
and some of the facilities will be used exclusively to store non 
GM crops, the spokesman said.
Itochu annually imports 600,000-700,000 tonnes of soybeans, 
mostly from the United States, the spokesman said. Of the total, 
400,000 to 500,000 tonnes are for crushing and the rest for 
soybean food products such as tofu.
Itochu plans to apply the non-GM management programme only to 
imports of food soybeans, as oilseed crushers have not requested 
segregation of GM and non-GM soybeans, the spokesman said. Food 
made from genetically altered soybeans must be labelled as such 
under Japanese government regulations which take effect in April 
2001. Oils made from genetically modified soybeans are exempt 
from the labelling requirement.
Last week Fuji Oil Co Ltd, Japan's largest maker of soybean 
protein food products, said it plans to buy through Itochu 
80,000-100,000 tonnes of non-GM soybeans imported from the United 
States. Fuji Oil, a member of the Itochu group of companies, said 
it will stop using GM soybeans by next April due to consumer 
concerns over the safety of genetically altered crops. Japan has 
approved 22 varieties of six GM crops - corn, soybeans, rapeseed, 
potatoes, cotton and tomatoes - for import and sale under its 
food safety guidelines. But the government will impose labelling 
requirements on these crops and on food products that use them, 
to allow consumers to make an informed choice.
Food products in which DNA or protein resulting from gene 
alteration cannot be detected using current technologies, such as 
vegetable oil, are exempt from the labelling requirements. 
==============================

5) Diverse views within Mercosur on GM-seeds -Montevideo, Sep 7 (IPS/Daniel
Gatti and Gustavo Gonzalez) 
Member countries of the Southern Common Market (Mercosur), as 
well as its associate members, are far from reconciling their 
positions on the cultivation of genetically modified food crops. 
Mercosur, which is made up of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and 
Uruguay, is home to policies that limit or even ban the 
production of genetically modified (GM) crops, as well as others 
that encourage their use.
Genetic modification is a process in which some of the genes of 
one organism are inserted into another, using a virus or bacteria 
as a carrier. The changes for certain traits, such as higher 
yields, are selected for reproduction. The genetic manipulation 
may involve the combination of animal genes with plant genes in 
order to alter the seeds, generally of corn and soy, to permit 
changes in the foods derived from these products. According to 
critics, genetically modified products can produce allergies, 
resistance to antibiotics, viral infections and even cancer in 
some people.
The environmental organisation, GRAIN, states that South American 
governments "redirected their economies toward the export of GM 
products as a key to growth," and have become "the latest 
opportunity for agro-industrial transnationals that are 
encountering obstacles to their expansion in North America and 
Europe. " "The massive flow of dollars has made (South American) 
governments insensitive to the obvious environmental and social 
costs, and, in the long term, the risks for safe food supplies" 
caused by GM organisms, argues GRAIN.
Within Mercosur, the most contradictory situation is in Brazil, 
where the federal government authorised the marketing of several 
types of genetically modified seeds, while the judiciary passed a 
resolution covering the entire nation that prohibits the release 
of GM soy into the environment. The legal measure was decided 
after legal claims were made by Brazil's Consumer Institute and 
by the Brazilian branch of the international environmental 
organisation Greenpeace. The decision particularly affects the 
interests of the transnational corporation Monsanto.
The state of Rio Grande do Sul, which is an economic leader in 
its agricultural production and where soy is one of the principal 
crops, leads the opposition in Brazil against GMs. In March the 
state banned the use of GM products within its territory. The 
state legislature is currently considering a bill that would 
declare Rio Grande do Sul a permanent "GM free zone." In August, 
more than 2,000 people participated in a meeting of several 
citizen organisations in Porto Alegre, the state's capital. The 
meeting culminated with the adoption of the "Rio Grande do Sul 
Charter" and a street demonstration against genetically altered 
organisms.
The Charter was approved by groups such as the Landless Rural 
Workers Movement, trade unions, professional associations, and 
groups of ecologists, Catholics, farmers, as well as research 
centres and women's movements. Citing "hundreds of scientific and 
experimental documents," the text maintains that the GMs "are a 
threat and a risk to human health and to food safety, as well as 
being transgressors against nature's harmonic processes." The 
Charter also states that the production and businesses arising 
from research linked to GMs in agriculture "are in the hands of a 
small group of transnational companies."
These companies merge and "take control over fundamental areas in 
the survival of humanity and of the species in general, the 
processing and distribution of food, petrochemicals and other 
chemicals," states the document. The Charter's signatories demand 
that the federal, state and municipal governments immediately 
suspend any action that legalises the production and marketing of 
GM foods, whether nationally produced or imported, as well as 
freeing up resources to clarify this new technology's risks. They 
also demand a public investigation and, in accordance with 
ethical principles, a study of the process's social, economic and 
environmental sustainability, "oriented toward the solution for 
the majority, and not to increase the concentration and 
dependence."
In Paraguay, a Bio-Safety Commission of experts, citizen 
organisations and parliamentarians designated by the government 
recommended that the executive office declare the nation "free of 
genetically modified organisms." Soy is Paraguay's primary 
agricultural product and the commission's pronouncement would be 
a serious obstacle for the transnationals' plans for GM products, 
indicated the citizen organisations.
Argentina and Uruguay, for their part, have not yet taken real 
steps towards openly debating the issue. Since Argentina opened 
the doors for the cultivation of modified soybeans in 1996, the 
nation has become the world's second largest producer of GM soy, 
with four million hectares in production. The Bio-Safety 
Commission created by Carlos Menem's government to study the 
issue has been harshly criticised by environmental groups due to 
the heavy participation of representatives from the industrial 
sector and the absence of ecologists, consumer advocates and 
agricultural representatives.
In Uruguay, several experimental sites have been authorised, 
primarily for GM corn and soy varieties. A governmental Risk 
Evaluation Commission includes the technical advice of just four 
experts, and has not allowed the participation of Uruguayan civil 
organisations.
In Chile, an associate member of Mercosur, environmental and 
consumer organisations charge the government with allowing GM 
cultivation to increase and permitting the sales of GM foods 
without implementing appropriate safety measures. The Sustainable 
Chile Foundation released a report last week indicating that "the 
surface area planted with GM products grew four-fold between 1997 
and 1998, from 7,152 hectares to 28,541 hectares." The Chilean 
government claims that it has based its position on the defence 
of free trade and that GM foods are not sold within the country, 
but seeds cultivated in Chile are exported to North America.
The Sustainable Chile Foundation maintained there are still risks 
because the GM seeds are not grown in quarantine, which implies 
"an imminent risk of biological contamination of nearby crops and 
weeds." The foundation and the Conscientious Consumer's League 
claim that "genetically modified corn not used for seed is being 
used to feed pigs and chickens," representing unknown risks to 
Chileans who eat meat that is potentially contaminated with 
modified genes. 
=========================

6) Wednesday September 8, Strategic Diagnostics offers cheap gene crop test
CHICAGO, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Strategic Diagnostics Inc. (Nasdaq:SDIX - 
news) has developed an inexpensive test to allow grain elevators to detect
the 
presence of genetically altered soybeans as more buyers demand to know the 
genetic makeup of the crops they purchase.
``The way we look at it, it's a necessary evil,'' Dwight Denham, global 
business unit manager for Newark, Del.-based SDI, said in an interview. 
``The GMO (genetically modified organism) issue is really heating up, and
it's 
one people are going to have to deal with.''
A crop's genetic makeup has become increasingly important as overseas 
customers -- especially those who buy grain for 
food and have concerns about the safety of GMO crops -- call for 
genetically modified crops to be kept separate from 
traditional crops.
Last week, leading grain exporter and processor Archer Daniels Midland Co. 
(NYSE:ADM - news) formally warned its 
grain suppliers to keep GMO crops separate from conventional ones.
In March, European Union food labeling regulations became effective for 
foods derived from genetically modified seeds.
SDI provides biotechnology-based diagnostic tests for agricultural, 
industrial and water-treatment applications. Its soybean 
test allows grain merchandisers who purchase crops from farmers to 
determine whether the oilseeds have been genetically 
altered to resist the Roundup Ready herbicide manufactured by Monsanto Co. 
(NYSE:MTC - news).
In April, Monsanto agreed to license the use of proprietary technology to 
SDI so the company could make and sell the test 
kits to food processors, their suppliers and regulatory agencies.
To use SDI's test, grain dealers need to crush a number of soybeans and mix 
them with water. The mixture is then tested 
with a strip similar to those used in pregnancy tests, which can detect the 
protein expressed by Roundup Ready soybeans 
in three to five minutes, Denham said.
The strip test, which has been on the market since early July, costs about 
$5.75 per test. That compares to a much more 
sophisticated test that uses DNA technology to detect GMO crops and costs 
about $150 to $400 per sample, Denham 
said.
As demand for non-GMO crops grows, Denham said the tests are becoming a 
more important source of revenue for the 
company.
``People tell us they really want these (test) kits,'' Denham said. ``It's 
a rapidly increasing source of revenue for us.''
Denham said the company is working with all major players in the U.S. grain 
industry for wider distribution and use of its 
strip test.
Shares of SDI traded on Nasdaq were off 5/8 at 7-3/8 at midday Wednesday.
=====================

7) TITLE: Deutsche Bank Report Now on Web 
SOURCE: Charles Benbrook 
benbrook@hillnet.com 
DATE: September 7, 1999
----------------- archive: <http://www.gene.ch/>http://www.gene.ch/
------------------
I am pleased to announce that the Deutsche Bank has given 
permission to Ag Biotech InfoNet
<<http://www.biotech-info.net/>www.biotech-info.net> to post 
the full text of its provocative July 12, 1999 report "Ag 
Biotech: Thanks, But No Thanks?" This 26 page report analyzes the 
Dupont-Pioneer merger and sets forth the Bank's assessment of the 
financial prospects for life science companies that have invested 
heavily in seed industry mergers and biotechnology. Excerpts of 
the report are circulating on various lists and have, in some 
instances, been misquoted or taken out of context. A careful 
read of the report, its tables and the appendices is well worth 
the time for anyone interested in the economics of the emerging 
agricultural biotech industry. 

The full report is being made available in PDF format and is 
accessible at:
<http://www.biotech-info.net/Deutsche.html>http://www.biotech-info.net/Deut
sche.html
==============
8) Small Farms More Productive than Large Farms but Threatened by Trade
Agreements
The Institute for Food and Development Policy/Food First 
and the Transnational Institute Release a New Report:
The Multiple Functions and Benefits 
of Small Farm Agriculture
In the Context of Global Trade Negotiations
By Peter Rosset
full text of the report available at: 
<http://www.foodfirst.org/pubs/policybs/pb4.html>http://www.foodfirst.org/p
ubs/policybs/pb4.html
September 14, 1999
Maastricht, Netherlands -- Small farms are more productive than large 
farms, yet their continued existence is threatened by international trade 
agreements, according to a major study released today at a United Nations 
conference here in Maastricht.*
The Institute for Food and Development Policy, also known as "Food First," 
based in California, USA, and the Transnational Institute, based in The 
Netherlands, published the study authored by agricultural development 
specialist Dr. Peter Rosset. Challenging the conventional wisdom that small 
farms are backward and unproductive, the study shows that small farmers 
worldwide produce from 2 to 10 times more per unit area than do larger, 
corporate farmers.
"In fact small farms are 'multi-functional' -- more productive, more 
efficient, and contribute more to economic development than do large 
farms," said Dr. Rosset, Executive Director of the Institute for Food and 
Development Policy and the author of the report. Dr. Rosset is an official 
delegate to the Maastricht conference, representing the Global Forum on 
Sustainable Food and Nutritional Security, based in Brazil.
Communities surrounded by populous small farms have healthier economies 
than do communities surrounded by depopulated large, mechanized farms, 
according the study. Small farmers also take better care of natural 
resources, including reducing soil erosion and conserving biodiversity. 
Small farmers are better stewards of natural resources, safeguarding the 
future sustainability of agricultural production.
"Despite more than a century of anti-small farmer policies in country after 
country, in both industrialized and third world countries," said Dr. 
Rosset, "small farmers not only still cling to the soil but continue to be 
more productive and more efficient than large, agri-business farming 
operations. Small farmers offer the best way to feed the world, and the 
only way to effectively conserve soil resources for future generations."
Unfortunately the study shows that today the world's small farmers face 
unprecedented threats to their livelihoods, thanks to free trade agreements 
negotiated in recent years. "Free trade causes the prices farmers receive 
to drop through the floor", said Rosset," driving them into bankruptcy by 
the millions." Such low prices mean only the largest can survive, 
according to the study.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Agriculture (AOA), to be 
negotiated in Seattle, USA, in November, 1999, is the weapon that could 
deal the final death blow to the world's small farmers, according to 
Rosset. "The U.S. Government negotiators," said Rosset, himself an 
American, "have as their goal for Seattle the complete liberalization of 
trade in farm products."
Rosset, and the institutes that published his report, are issuing a call to 
recognize the true, multiple value of small farms, and to defeat the 
American government plans for the AOA. "Small farmers are a key resource 
for our very survival into the future," said Mr. Erik Heijmans, of the 
Transnational Institute, which co- published the study. "We must oppose 
trade agreements which place them in jeopardy."
* "Cultivating Our Futures," the FAO/Netherlands Conference on the 
Multifunctional Character of Agriculture and Land, 12-17 September 1999, 
Maastricht, The Netherlands. Information at:
<http://www.fao.org/mfcal>http://www.fao.org/mfcal
# # #
Food First/The Institute for Food and Development Policy 
398 60th Street 
Oakland, California 94618 USA 
tel: 510/654-4400 fax: 510/654-4551 
foodfirst@foodfirst.org 
<<http://www.foodfirst.org/>http://www.foodfirst.org>
Transnational Institute 
Paulus Potterstraat 20 
1071 DA, Amsterdam 
The Netherlands 
Tel: 31-20-6626608 
Fax: 31-20-6757176 
tni@tni.org 
<<http://www.worldcom.nl/tni>http://www.worldcom.nl/tni>
Global Forum on Sustainable Food and Nutritional Security 
SGAN 905 Conjunto "B", Parte "A" 70.790-050 
Brasilia, DF Brazil 
Tel: +55 61 347 4914 
Fax: +55 61 347 9002 
agora@tba.com.br 
<<http://www.globalforum.org.br/index1.htm>http://www.globalforum.org.br/in
dex1.htm>
Anuradha Mittal 
Policy Director 
Institute for Food and Development Policy - Food First 
398 60th Street, Oakland, CA 94618 USA 
Phone: (510) 654-4400 Fax: (510) 654-4551 
<http://www.foodfirst.org/>http://www.foodfirst.org
=================
9) ENVIRONMENT-PAKISTAN: MONSANTO BALKS AT PLANT ...
OTC ISLAMABAD, (Aug. 31) IPS - The giant U.S. seed corporation Monsanto has 
been working overtime to get Pakistan to 
dilute a proposed law that would extend protection to plant varieties under 
the Trade Related Property Rights (TRIPs) 
agreement. 
Officials in the Pakistani Ministry of Food and Agriculture say Monsanto 
has been sending "unsolicited suggestions" for 
incorporation into the Plant Breeders Rights Act, being devised to meet 
international obligations under the TRIPs 
agreement. 
"Monsanto is also pulling powerful strings to influence the legislative 
process in its favor, sending letters to government 
officials, holding meetings with politicians," commented an official of the 
ministry, requesting not to be named. 
The TRIPS agreement requires signatories to extend protection to plant 
varieties either through patents or a sui generis 
system. 
Pakistan has opted for the latter or a locally devised system in order to 
provide maximum protection to farmers against 
seed transnationals (TNCs) that are now eyeing the lucrative seed markets 
in developing countries. 
A government committee with representatives from the ministries of 
commerce, agriculture and industries is working on 
a draft Plant Breeders Act 1999. 
Dr. Shahid Zia, a research fellow with the Islamabad-based Sustainable 
Development Policy Institute (SDPI), has also 
been included in the committee. 
"The proposed law would allow the farmers to save, retain and exchange 
seeds, although they will be barred from using 
the seed for commercial exploitation," Dr. Zia told IPS, adding that the 
law proposed protection for a period of 20 to 25 
years. 
Formed on Aug. 6, the committee has already held two meetings and has 
drafted a proposal for adequate safeguards 
against transgenic seed varieties entering the Pakistani market. 
"The proposed law requires a genetically modified or a transgenic plant to 
clear tough environmental impact and biosaftey 
assessments before being given protection," said Dr. Zia. 
The draft law also requires owners of genetically modified or new 
transgenic varieties to pay compensation for hazards 
and damages caused by the use and handling of the transgenic variety. 
"In such cases, assessment of such hazards and damages shall be decided by 
the bio-safety committee," reads a clause in 
the draft law, which has prompted Monsanto to appeal to the government. 
In a letter to the chief of the government's Seed Certification Department 
dated Aug. 16, Monsanto's Managing Director 
Dr. A. Rehman Khan has asked for the deletion of this clause, saying it is 
unacceptable to the TNC. 
"In the presence of this clause, anybody from public can sue us and ask for 
compensation for hazards and damages which 
are kind of open-ended risks. Hence, take out this clause," said Khan in 
his fax. 
"Again I repeat that this clause is not acceptable to any multinational 
company and it should not be different than any non- 
transgenic variety," Khan said. 
After tough resistance to its so-called "terminator" technology in the 
industrialized countries, Monsanto is now looking at 
India, Pakistan and China as potential markets for its genetically 
engineered seeds, whose biosafety impacts are still 
uncertain. 
Scientists believe that the "sterility trait" from first-generation seeds 
(prompting their nickname of "terminators") will 
infect via pollen neighboring fields of open-pollinated crops and wild 
relatives growing nearby. 
"Given that the technology is new and untested on a large scale, biosafety 
issues remain a valid and extremely important 
concern," argued the Canada-based Rural Advancement Foundation 
International, an ardent opponent of terminator 
technology. 
"Monsanto is planning to begin trials of its transgenic seeds in either 
Sahiwal or Faisalabad districts of the Punjab 
province," said Irfan Ahmed, editor of "Seed Magazine," at a consultation 
on Plant Breeders Rights organized by SDPI in 
Islamabad last week. 
While 240 local companies are marketing seeds developed by public sector 
research institutions, TNCs, including DuPont, 
Monsanto, Novartis, Pioneer Group, AgriVo and ICI, are waiting to enter the 
market once legislation to protect plant 
varieties is in place. 
Although the proposed law provides for adequate safeguards against 
transgenic varieties, some say it still has grey areas 
that need to be more specifically defined. 
"The proposed law bars farmers from commercial exploitation of seed but the 
law is not clear what commercial 
exploitation is. Does it mean that farmers will not be able to sell part of 
their crop in the market, as they have been 
traditionally doing?" Dr. Zia asked. 
Government officials are defending the draft law, saying it will not 
negatively impact on local farmers, who will be free to 
save, exchange and share seeds. 
"The law will provide incentives in the form of royalties to public sector 
research institutions and agricultural scientists to 
develop new high quality seeds," said Dr. Akhlaque Ahmed, head of the Seed 
Certification Department. 
Public sector research institutions account for more than 90 percent of new 
plant varieties introduced in the country, while 
the rest are developed by farmers themselves. 
"The law should ensure that the interests of the farmers rather than the 
TNCs are protected," said Mushtaq Gadi of the 
Sustainable Agriculture Action Group. 
"Ideally, the government should interpret the sui generis system in light 
of the Convention on Biological Diversity that 
talks about the rights of local communities on genetic resources and 
biodiversity," Gadi said. 
Copyright 1999
==============
10) From: "NLP Wessex" <nlpwessex@bigfoot.com>† ELO supports ESCS GM land
register proposal Thu, 9 Sep 1999 

In the July-August issue 1999 issue of its in-house magazine "Countryside" 
the European Landowners Association (ELO) reports on the European 
Society of Chartered Surveyors' (ESCS) proposal for detailed 
land registers of GM crops in EU member states, if and when they are grown 
commercially in Europe.
Both the ELO and ESCS support the adoption of the precautionary principle 
until the actual threats posed by GMOs have been properly identified.
The land register proposal would apply in the event that a ban on GMOs in 
Europe is not introduced, itself an increasing possiblity as the 
public becomes steadily better informed on this subject.
NATURAL LAW PARTY WESSEX 
nlpwessex@bigfoot.com 
<http://www.btinternet.com/~nlpwessex>www.btinternet.com/~nlpwessex 
===================
11) GMOs: a land register for transgenic crops The European Society of
Chartered Surveyors has called upon the Community Institutions to 
set up a register of land where CM crops are grown.
The ESCS is the Brussels represen- 
tation of national surveyors organi- 
sations; the latter provide professional 
advice for private and public lan- 
downers on matters regarding mana- 
gement of their property.
Growing unrest
Surveyors are openly anxious 
about the long term risks that com- 
mercial use of genetically modified 
organisms can pose for the environ- 
ment and for human and animal heal- 
th.
They point out that the possible 
repercussions of these new technolo- 
gies may only become apparent after 
many years.
The need for traceability
Given consumers' growing 
demand for food safety, it has become 
indispensible to have a trace on food 
products.
The chartered surveyors are thus 
proposing that each Member State of 
European Union should set up a 
register listing the location of transge- 
nic crops, their type, date of sowing 
etc.
This register would be open to the 
public and would allow prospective 
land purchasers to ascertain the qua- 
lity of the land. It would be a means of 
getting to the root of possible food- 
related problems.
A new category of agriculture
The creation of such a register 
would amount to distinguishing, 
besides organic farmers, between 
GMO producers and non-GMO pro- 
ducers.
Identification of the pro- 
blems ...
Amongst the problems GMOs can 
pose, surveyors highlight the issue if 
pollination of neighbouring non-trans- 
genic fields. It is estimated that pollen 
can cover distances of almost 5 kilo- 
metres, "contaminating" crops within 
that radius. In view of the fact that cer- 
tain chain stores are boycotting gene- 
tically modified products, this is a 
source of concern, to say the least.
A further hazard is the persistence 
of transgenic characteristics, even after 
harvest.
... and questions
In the light of development of 
European legislation in this area, sur- 
veyors ask whether farmers wishing to 
grow non-transgenic varieties will be 
able to do so on land formerly sown 
with GMOs. Can non-GMO certifi- 
cation be granted for land neighbou- 
ring a GMO field? What checks will 
be put in place to ensure that hol- 
dings certified as non-GMO fulfil their 
obligations?
How can such risks be cove- 
red?
Surveyors also advise farmers plan- 
ning to sow transgenic crops to cover 
themselves by taking out insurance 
for liability in case of contamination of 
the soil or neighbouring fields.
The best means of preven- 
tion : the precautionary prin- 
ciple
Like ELO, the European Society of 
Chartered Surveyors believes that, in 
the interests of environmental care 
and conservation of biological diver- 
sity (especially with regard to insects 
and wild birds), strict observance of 
the precautionary principle is the best 
way forward, until such time as the 
actual threats posed by GMOs have 
been properly identified.
Towards full traceability
Whilst the idea of a land register 
does seem an attractive one, it can 
only be complete if the proposed lis- 
ting includes full references of GMOs 
sown. Final liability for possible dama- 
ge can only rest with the seed produ- 
cer, not with the bona fide user.
===============
From: "NLP Wessex" <nlpwessex@bigfoot.com>
Subject: Barriers to GM-free livestock feed lifted 

12) According to the front page of the UK's 'Farming News' September 10th
1999 
UK Agriculture Minister Nick Brown had reassuring news for livestock 
producers when he opened the World Seed Conference in Cambridge earlier in 
the week.
Farming News quotes the Minister as saying:
"Governments in Britain, the US and Canada have approved a list of growers 
and suppliers of non-GM soya which should enable livestock farmers to meet 
the requirements of food retailers."
This would seem to indicate that there is no reason now why British 
supermarkets cannot guarantee sales of products from animals whose diets are 
GM free.
There is, however, still no requirement for retailers to label products from 
animals which are fed GMOs. For more on this visit 
<http://www.millennium-debate.org/bournemouth.htm>http://www.millennium-deb
ate.org/bournemouth.htm .
===============
12) According to the front page of the UK's 'Farming News' September 10th
1999 
UK Agriculture Minister Nick Brown had reassuring news for livestock 
producers when he opened the World Seed Conference in Cambridge earlier in 
the week.]
13) posted Friday, September 3, 1999 (Grainnet)† ADM Segregation Announcement
Throws Grain Industry into Turmoil
Grain handlers in central Illinois were struggling to adjust to an 
announcement from Decatur, IL-based Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) asking 
them to segregate GMO and non-GMO varieties for the 1999 harvest, according 
to a front page report in today's Decatur Herald & Review newsletter.
Dick Thomas, general manager of Topflight Grain Co., Bement, IL, which 
operates seven grain elevators in Macon and Piatt counties, said farmers are 
being asked to place cards in their windshields identifying the kind of 
crops they are carrying. One card states "GMO", while the other reads 
"non-GMO."
"It's going to be very difficult," Thomas said. "The main thing to emphasize 
is, farmers must be honest."
In addition, Topflight, which has a total storage capacity of 14.5 million 
bushels, also is offering a 5-cent-per-bushel premium for non-genetically 
altered varieties. Topflight has no plans to separate corn varieties other 
than designating its facility in Cisco, IL, for collection of types that 
aren't approved for export to Europe, a very small percentage of crops 
planted locally.
Meanwhile, Randy Sexton, manager of Niantic Grain Co., Niantic, IL, has not 
decided if any segregation will occur at his elevator. "During harvest time, 
we have 300 trucks go through in one day," he said. "We cannot practically 
test loads."
Doug Childers, manager of Cargill Inc.'s elevator at Tuscola, IL, said he 
has not been directed to separate any crops other than corn from soybeans. 
Earlier this year, Minneapolis, MN-based Cargill had said it will continue 
to accept GMO crops and would try to route them to domestic channels.
==================
14) EXTRACTS FROM ESCS* BRUSSELS BRIEFING 
6 - 10 September 1999† NEW RESPONSIBILITY FOR GMOs? 
> 
>Speculation is mounting that the Commission's Directorate General for 
Health 
>and Consumer Affairs could soon take over full responsibility for GMOs. 
This 
>move would allow the Commission to house all officials dealing with GMOs 
>under one roof instead of the present set-up under which policy is spread 
>across three departments: environment, industry and agriculture. 
> 
>WTO: AGRICULTURE AGENDA 
> 
>The United States has presented to the 15 Cairns Group countries the US 
>priorities for the agricultural section of the WTO's Millennium Round 
>negotiations due to begin in November. The top priority is to have export 
>subsides eliminated as they "depress world commodity prices, are costly and 
>discourage production". The EU was quoted as an example whose export 
subsidy 
>programme accounts for "over 80% of global export subsidy expenditure". 
>Washington is hoping for a system offering greater market access and which 
>reins in agricultural state trading enterprises, as well as hoping for 
>discussion on new subjects such as biotechnology. 
> 
> ************************** 
>(* EUROPEAN SOCIETY OF CHARTERED SURVEYORS) 
>
=========================