BRAZIL’S CONGRESS TO VOTE ON GM TERMINATOR SEEDS
A bill to end the moratorium on genetically modified “terminator” seeds could pass Brazil’s national Congress as early as Tuesday, December 17, spurring unease among farmers and environmentalists. These “suicide seeds” cause crops to die off after one harvest without producing offspring, increasing farmers’ dependence on seed and chemical companies as they are forced to buy new seeds for each planting. In 2000, 193 countries agreed to the moratorium at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, but now powerful landowning groups in Brazil are trying to push a bill through Congress to allow use of the technology. Environmentalists fear the consequences of ending the moratorium; since Brazil is one of the world’s largest agricultural producers, they worry that such a move could result in global adoption of the technology. Large seed and agrochemical companies, however, say that these seeds could actually protect organic farmers as they would prevent genetically modified plants from spreading their genes to wild relatives. For the full story, see http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2013/dec/12/brazil-gm-terminator-seed-technology-farmers.