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terminator technology

different varieties of maize in a multitude of colours
Different varieties of Indian and field maize. David Cavagnaro/Still Pictures


Terminator technology is the genetic modification of plants to make them produce sterile seeds. It is being developed by multinational agribusiness companies to prevent farmers from saving seeds to replant from one harvest to the next. If farmers have no choice but to buy new seeds every year, the companies are guaranteed large profits.

Terminator technology is a threat to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal 1 of Eradicating Extreme Poverty and Hunger by 2015.

Farmers have warned that Terminator technology will threaten global food security and could destroy traditional farming methods in much of the world. If the Terminator genes transfer into wild plant species and non-GM crops, it could also lead to irreversible environmental damage. 

Governments at the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) have unanimously upheld the global de facto moratorium on Terminator technology, which has been in place since 2000. This is a great success for the global campaign against Terminator technology.

The 8th Conference of the Parties (COP8) of the CBD met in Brazil from the 20th to the 31st of March and rejected the moves to allow case-by-case assessment.  Thousands of farmers protested daily outside the CBD meeting to demand a ban on this technology that threatens the livelihoods and food security of the 1.4 billion people who depend on farm-saved seed globally.

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