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Protests at NZ proposal to lift Terminator ban

Greenpeace protests NZ proposal to lift ban on Terminator technology

New Delhi-24 March 2006 — Greenpeace activists and Indian farmer organisations protested in front of the New Zealand Embassy in New Delhi this morning, with a banner exhorting New Zealand to ‘Keep the Ban on Terminator Seeds’. The protestors also distributed leaflets to hundreds of passers-by in peak hour traffic.

They handed in a letter to the NZ High Commissioner in India, Sir Edmund Hillary, also signed by the farmers.

The protestors are part of a world-wide network of citizens concerned about the 1.4 billion people across the world dependent on seeds saved by farmers for survival. The Terminator, sterile seed technology, would put an end to this practice and compel farmers to buy their seed every year from seed companies.

New Zealand, along with only Canada and Australia, is supporting the lifting of a de facto ban agreed by Governments in 2000. The ban prevents farm trials of terminator technology because of the threat this technology poses. New Zealand is facing the wrath of the developing world on this issue as the Convention on Biological Diversity talks continue in Brazil. 300 environmental and farmers groups from across the world have signed an international petition to ban Terminator.

“Indian farmers can ill afford to gamble with new technologies – especially those designed to line the coffers of seed companies while impoverishing farmers further,” said Divya Raghunandan, GE campaigner, Greenpeace India, “If Terminator technology is allowed, anywhere in the world, it is certain to have a cascading impact on farmers everywhere.”

New Zealand is arguing that Terminator ought to be considered on a "case by case" basis but this approach is being slammed as a move which could undermine - and eventually eliminate - the defacto ban.

"Over centuries, generations of farmers have nurtured and protected biodiversity, innovating and creating new varieties, then sharing that wealth of knowledge unselfishly. Introducing corporate-controlled Terminator technology would rip apart the community fabric that we have so carefully woven,” said Krishan Bir Chowdhary, President of Bharat Krishak Samaj (Indian Farmers’ Forum, a premier organization bringing together Indian farmers), “Terminator technology is a direct threat to farmers’ rights, to our biodiversity and to our food sovereignty.”

Greenpeace is calling on New Zealand to oppose Terminator technology in any form, including its so-called case-by-case basis.

ENDS

www.greenpeaceindia.org

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