Tag Archives: new zealand

Sterile seeds

14 Apr

I learnt last night, towards the end of ‘Choosing Eden‘, that a type of seed has been designed to genetically switch off a plants ability to germinate a second time. It’s called Terminator technology, or the official wag: Genetic Use Restriction Technology (GURTs). It seems strange that I never knew this before, but the very idea is unfathomable: that someone would be stupid and selfish enough to deliberately stop a plant reproducing in order to force farmers to buy seeds over and over again. It’s just another example of how money gets in the way of life.

Imagine if Monsanto actually got away with this. It strikes me as being a violation of human rights. Are company profits so much more important than farmers’ livelihoods? Sterile seeds are almost like forced sterilisations of women. Less immediately hurtful, but just as devastating.

I’m relieved to learn there is an international moratorium on field tests and commercial use, although according to the site Ban Terminator, the Canadian government is trying to overturn the moratorium. Apparently NZ and Australia are in on the act too. Shame on us!

When putting in my garden I plan to use heirloom seeds as much as possible and learning how to save my seeds.

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