The Industry

In 1999, Monsanto and Syngenta (then AstraZeneca) both stated that they would not use Terminator - but Syngenta continues to win new patents on Terminator and Monsanto now owns the original Terminator patent.

Monsanto bought Delta & Pine Land in 2007 and is now the owner of the first Terminator patent, developed by that company with the US Department of Agriculture. Delta & Pine Land was testing Terminator in greenhouses in the US and had publicly vowed to commercialize the technology.

In 1999, Monsanto stated, "we are making a public commitment not to commercialize sterile seed technologies, such as the one dubbed ‘Terminator.’" But in 2005 Monsanto reworded this original pledge to only apply to food crops: "Monsanto made a commitment not to commercialize sterile-seed technologies in food crops. It continues to stand by that commitment today, but Monsanto people constantly reevaluate this stance as technology develops."(emphasis added) Monsanto apologized for this "added language" and restated in a letter to the Ban Terminator Campaign (Feb 27, 2006) that, "We stand by our commitment to not use genetic engineering methods that result in sterile seeds. Period."

“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.” – Harry Collins, Delta & Pine Land, 2000 (from Agra/Industrial Biotechnology Legal Letter).

Monsanto's pro-Terminator position came to light in 2003 when the International Seed Federation (ISF) released a position paper on Terminator or GURTs (genetic use restriction technology - the scientific name for Terminator) that defends its supposed potential benefits and extols the theoretical virtues of Terminator for small farmers and Indigenous peoples. The paper was co-authored by Roger Krueger, Seed Quality and Policy Lead at Monsanto and Harry Collins of Delta & Pine Land.

“Once developed, we intend licensing of this technology to be widely available to other seed companies,” – Delta & Pine Land, August 31, 2004

It is clear that we cannot rely on the goodwill of multinational corporations not to develop Terminator. Terminator technology will become a commercial reality unless governments take action to ban genetic seed sterilization.

The top 10 seed companies now control half of the world’s commercial seed sales.

List of patents on Terminator - updated October 2005
•Delta & Pine Land’s 2005 promotional brochure on Terminator ( text only)
( pdf high resolution 4MB) ( pdf low resolution 0.5MB)
International Seed Federation’s position paper on Terminator (revised, June, 2003)

Links:

Corporate Watch UK www.corporatewatch.org.uk
CorpWatch www.corpwatch.org
ETC group www.etcgroup.org
Pesticide Action Network North America, Corporate Accountability and Industrial Agriculture www.panna.org/campaigns/caia.html