"We've continued right on with work on the Technology Protection System [Terminator]. We never really slowed down. We're on target, moving ahead to commercialize it. We never really backed off." - Delta & Pine Land

Farmers concerned over D&PL's terminator patent
Financial Express, October 28, 2005

NEW DELHI, OCT 27: Indian farmers have expressed grave concern over the patent rights accorded to Delta & Pine Land in Europe and US over its controversial terminator technology. They have expressed fears that the company which has recently declared that it would foray into the country’s farm sector in big way, may bring in the terminator technology. This terminator technology is detrimental to the interests of farmers, they said.

Speaking to FE, the executive chairman of Bharat Krishak Samaj, Dr Krishan Bir Chaudhary said: "The government should take immediate steps to ban terminator technology in the country. It should immediately review the activities and intentions of Delta & Pine Land. The company should not be allowed any field trials of terminator seeds. The pollen flow from plants with terminator technology to other crops will have dangerous consequences. It would make the pollen-affected crops sterile."

Mr Chaudhary said that the hidden agenda of the corporate houses is to monopolise the seed sector. It is for this reason the seed companies are producing hybrid seeds which the farmers cannot save for the next season.

They usually do not produce conventional varietal seeds which the farmers can save for the next season. Now with the terminator technology, the seed companies intends to complete their agenda of monopolising the entire seed sector as the plants of terminator technology will produce only sterile seeds, he said.

Greenpeace has recently exposed the details of the patent for the controversial "terminator technology" granted in Europe on 5 October 2005.

The terminator patent has been approved for all plants that are genetically engineered so that their seeds will not germinate.

Further research by the "Ban Terminator Campaign", a network of farmers' unions and environmental organisations revealed that a patent was also granted in Canada on 11 October 2005.

"Farmers should be aware that corporations all over the world are ready to take control of their seeds with genetic engineering (GE). These corporations will control the entire food chain with the help of monopoly patents and terminator technology. We need a global ban on this technology and on any patents on seeds. These corporate instruments will disrupt the backbone of global food supply, making it impossible for the farmers to reuse their own harvest for planting," said Christoph Then of Greenpeace International.

So far, the market introduction of the Terminator technology - which was already developed about ten years ago - was successfully prevented through worldwide protest of several groups and stakeholders. But many observers believe that the GE industry will drive towards the legalisation of this technology at the meeting of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in March next year. The grant of the patent could push even harder for market introduction, said Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator of the new global Ban Terminator Campaign, which involves farmers unions, environmental and Indigenous peoples organisations.

Mr Harry Collins of D&PL in the Agra/Industrial Biotechnology Legal Letter has said : "We've continued right on with work on the Technology Protection System [Terminator]. We never really slowed down. We're on target, moving ahead to commercialize it. We never really backed off."

The company states that it may be "several years" before their technology is commercially available but also says that "Once developed, we intend licensing of this technology to be widely available to other seed companies."