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Rural Women support ban on “Terminator”

16 March 2006

Rural Women New Zealand calls on Government to support ban on “Terminator” gene seed trials

Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) is urging the Government to safeguard New Zealand’s biosecurity along with the livelihoods of millions of farmers in the third world by dropping its support for lifting the moratorium on ‘Terminator’ gene seed trials.

“We are asking the Government to take a firm line against sterile seed technology,” said RWNZ National President Sherrill Dackers today.

RWNZ is making the call as New Zealand and other parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) meet in Brazil to discuss this and other biosecurity issues.

“We are very concerned that New Zealand gave support to Canada’s call to lift the moratorium on field trials of “Terminator” seeds, in Montreal in 2005.

If sterile seeds are inadvertently or deliberately released into poor countries it would have disastrous results.

“Up to eighty percent of the farmers in third world countries are women, many of whom follow traditional farming practices, saving seed each season for the next year’s crop. They are amongst the poorest people in the world and buying seed each year is not possible, or desirable.”

RWNZ also advocates stricter labelling rules for Genetically Modified Organisms. Our organization supports the development of rules that would oblige anyone sending food and animal feed to specify not just the intended content of shipments, but the actual content, as it relates to GMOs.

“It is vital that we know what is actually in the food we eat, or that our stock eats, especially as technology now allows scientists to engineer plants to produce pharmaceutical and industrial substances. If such organisms were inadvertently introduced to New Zealand it would be a threat to our rural economy as well as posing health risks,” said Ms Dackers.

“We need to know what is actually being imported into the country through accurate testing and labelling.”

ENDS

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