Email the President of Ecuador

Use the below form to send an instant email in Spanish to the President of Ecuador, Dr. Rafael Correa and the Minister of Agriculture, Ing. Walter Poveda - below you can read the English translation of the letter you are sending.

For more information see Terminating Food Sovereignty in Ecuador?

Text of Spanish Letter translated into English:

RE: Concern over Law on Food Sovereignty regarding Terminator Technology

Of our highest consideration,

The Law on Food Sovereignty passed by the National Assembly of Ecuador last February was considered by many communities, organizations and institutions around the world as a pioneering example to be followed in our countries.

However, we are writing to express our serious concern about the partial veto and changes proposed to this Law, particularly the change suggested to Article 26 as we believe this would have global implications.

In the paragraph relating to the import of raw material inputs that may contain genetic modified organisms, the original text of the Law provides that the "the reproductive capacity of the seeds is disabled by breaking [of grains] (…)” The change now proposed however removes the phrase "by breaking", and leaves only "the reproductive capacity of the seeds is disabled”.

It is our view that this sentence can and will certainly be used by the industry as an acceptance of “Terminator”, or “suicide seeds” that are genetically engineered to be sterile in the second generation, restricting their capacity to germinate. This technology, also referred to as “Genetic Use Restriction Technology” (GURTs), would be a means of creating the absolute dependency of farmers, as Terminator seeds would force them to buy company seeds every planting season. The technology has been widely condemned by thousands of civil society organizations, peasants, indigenous and environmental organizations across the world, as well as many scientists and authorities like Jacques Diouf, Director of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as well as by international agricultural research institutions such as the Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research (CGIAR).

In 2000, the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity established a de facto moratorium on field-testing and commercialization of this technology (decision V/24, id = 7166), which is still in force and was strengthened at the CBD COP9 in 2006. We note that Brazil and India have also established their own national bans.

We are extremely concerned because the few large companies that control the global market for seeds and genetically engineered organisms have repeatedly tried to break the international moratorium or by any other means have tried to legitimize the use of this technology.

Although the companies have argued Terminator could be used as a “biosafety” mechanism to prevent contamination, scientific reports submitted to the Convention on Biological Diversity show that the technology is so complex and unstable, it could never fulfill the role of completely inhibiting the reproduction of seeds, so transgenic contamination would partially occur anyway.

We want to believe it was not your intention to open the door to Terminator technology when submitting the amendment to Article 26 of the Law on Food Sovereignty.

To affirm food sovereignty in Ecuador, and prevent the use of Terminator seeds which would have international impact, including imported seeds or grains, we respectfully request that:

- The proposal to change Article 26 be withdrawn and replaced with the original phrasing: "reproductive capacity of the seeds is disabled by breaking (...)"

- Ecuador establish a national ban on the import, use, development, testing and commercializing ofany form of Genetic Use Restriction Technology.

Thank you for your consideration of this important matter,

Yours sincerely,

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