Sergio Oceransky on Thu, 7 Oct 1999 18:44:58 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> Monsanto gives up Terminator


This article came out yesterday in the Deccan Herald, one of the main
Indian newspapers. The author seems to be somewhat confused about the use
of the term 'NGOs', since he labels KRRS and UK-based GEN as such, but the
rest of the article is quite ok. My favourite quotes are: 

"Monsanto`s decision on Tuesday pummelled its stock to a 52-week low of
US$ 33.625. In the last 12 months, the company`s stock lost 35 per cent of
its value just at a time when the Standard & Poor`s 500-stock index is up
30 per cent during the same period." 

"A World Trade Organisation trade analyst said Monsanto seemed worried
about the escalating popular backlash against the GMOs (genetically
modified organisms) and genetically modified foods. ''The company must
have seen the writing on the wall, particularly with environmental NGO
preparing for violent protest demonstrations against GMOs during the
Seattle ministerial conference,`` the analyst said." 

Ride on ride on!! hasta la victoria!! sergio

NOVEMBER 30, INT'L DAY OF ACTION AGAINST THE WTO
   Laugh in the Face of the Global Economy!!
             http://go.to/n30 
N30 HUB Website http://flag.blackened.net/~global
N30 Seattle Walkout http://walkout.listbot.com
N30 Call by the IWW  
http://www.geocities.com/capitolhill/lobby/8771/iwwwto.html
N30 Seattle Direct Action Network http://www.agitprop.org/artandrevolution/wto
People's Global Action http://www.agp.org

  ########################

http://www.deccanherald.com/deccanherald/oct06/ntnfo.htm

DECCAN HERALD <Picture>Wednesday, October 6, 1999 

------------------------------------------------------------------------

NGOs bring pressure on company Monsanto to stop production of sterile
seeds

>From D Ravi Kanth 
Geneva, Oct 5 (DHNS)

Monsanto, the US biotech giant now in the eye of a storm over its
genetically modified food research, suffered a setback with its decision
to stop plans to produce terminator (sterile) seeds, a decision that
Karnataka Rajya Ryota Sangha (KRRS) President Prof Nanjundaswamy would
welcome. 

For sometime now, Prof Nanjundaswamy and other farmers` organisations have
been hammering against genetically-modified seeds, which the US
agri-corporations like Monsanto are selling to Indian farmers. Trade
analysts said Monsanto`s decision is prompted by rising backlash against
the genetically modified (GM) technology. 

''Though we do not yet own any sterile seed technology, we think it is
important to respond to those concerns at this time by making clear our
commitment not to commercialise gene protection systems that render seed
sterile,`` said Robert Shapiro, Monsanto`s chairman. 

Monsanto`s decision on Tuesday pummelled its stock to a 52-week low of US
33.625. In the last 12 months, the company`s stock lost 35 per cent of
its value just at a time when the Standard & Poor`s 500-stock index is up
30 per cent during the same period. 

To overcome the weak patent protection laws in developing countries where
farmers grow the same seed for a second crop, Monsanto devised a research
programme to produce the terminator seed to protect its GM technology, a
Geneva-based investment analyst said. 

The seed would not be fertile after one crop and thereby, it would have
forced farmers to buy afresh from the company for the next crop. 

PRESSURE GROUPS: Monsanto is on the verge of commercialising this
technolgy but several western non-governmental organisations threatened
the US biotech giant with dire consequences. Recently, a London-based
non-governmental organisation`s volunteers destroyed a Monsanto-raised
experimental GM crop. 

Friends of the Earth, a UK-based NGO, called for a five-year freeze on GM
crops and food to conduct more research into their impact on human health
and the environment. 

The biotech giant, however, has not foreclosed its options completely. 

Monsanto said it did not rule out the development of future technology in
this field. ''We are not currently investing resources to develop these
technologies, but we do not rule out their future development and use for
gene protection or their possible agronomic benefits,`` Mr Shapiro
maintained. 

A World Trade Organisation trade analyst said Monsanto seemed worried
about the escalating popular backlash against the GMOs (genetically
modified organisms) and genetically modified foods. ''The company must
have seen the writing on the wall, particularly with environmental NGO
preparing for violent protest demonstrations against GMOs during the
Seattle ministerial conference,`` the analyst said. 

A spectre of food scare, arising out of safety and quality, is now
haunting Europe. With each passing day, leading European countries are
besieged with new issues, particularly those relating to genetically
modified foods in which the United States is an undisputed leader. In all
likelihood, the new millennuim`s trans-Atlantic trade wars will be fought
over barriers to GMFs or what the Germans would like to call
''Frankenstein foods``, the analyst said. 

The environment ministers of the European Union`s 15-member countries
recently zeroed in on a plan to impose a moratorium on the sale and
planting of products raised through genetically modified techniques. When
this measure comes into effect, it could well be a deathknell to GM food
industry that is increasingly dominating the US food market. 

In a dispute over beef raised with growth hormones which Washington and
Canada won against the EU, the WTO authorised the US go ahead with
punitive tariffs on the European products to the tune of US 116 million. 

In the G-8 industrialised countries meet in Cologne sometime ago, there
were near skirmishes between France and the United States over regulation
of GM foods. French President Jacques Chirac made a forceful demand for
creation of a global scientific authority to oversee issues pertaining to
food safety. 

Interestingly, the move is premised on the ''precautionary principle,
which lets governments to take prompt action against products where there
is scientific uncertainity and a perceived risk of damage to the
environemtn or public health.`` US President Bill Clinton promptly turned
down the demand because the US interpreted the whole move as a clever
protectionist trick to force strict labelling laws on the American
products, particularly hormone treated beef. 

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