Terminator Seeds

Terminator "suicide" seeds are genetically engineered so that seeds from the resulting crop are dead, they cannot be planted. Terminator technology was first developed by the United States Department of Agriculture and US seed company Delta & Pine Land to prevent farmers from saving and re-using harvested seed, forcing them to buy new seeds each season.

They threaten bio-diversity through contamination and they threaten the livelihood of tens of millions of poor peasant farmers who traditionally save seed to plant their next crop. The only beneficiaries from this perverse technology are the large transnational corporations who develop them. Their only new feature is the requirement that new seeds be purchased for every crop. The international Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration (ETC Group) called terminator technology "the most controversial and immoral agricultural application of genetic engineering so far."

The Canadian government is doing the bidding of huge transnational companies pushing bio-tech seeds thereby cynically abandoning millions of peasant farmers around the world. If Canadians are concerned about the big issues of foreign policy and specifically our stance on the policies of our imperial neighbour, they should be just as concerned about the other dimensions of how we engage the world. The face Canada presents to other countries is now corporate: cold, hard, and ruthless.

Monsanto, the world's largest seed and agbiotech company, made a public promise not to commercialize 'Terminator Technology' - plants that are genetically engineered to produce sterile seeds. Now Monsanto says it will develop or use the so-called 'suicide seeds' after all.