15 April 1998
‘Terminator Gene’ patent will
clamp down on seed collection

NEW gene technology could soon stop farmers collecting seeds and give control of the worlds food supply to a handful of multinational chemical companies, reports The Guardians Society supplement.

The recognised practice of farmers storing seed for next years plantings could become a thing of the past.

US Patent 5,723,765, awarded jointly last month to the worlds largest cottonseed company and the US Department of Agriculture, will allow companies to stop farmers collecting the seeds to plant again in following years, the report says.

Once licensed to seed and chemical companies, these “Terminator Genes” would effectively pass control of global crops to US companies and force farmers to buy new seed each year.

Critics say this could have far-reaching effects in the poor countries where the technology is aimed.

  • The Guardian Society 15/04/98 page 8-9