For Immediate Release - June 6 , 2007
Press Release - Canadian Biotechnology Action Network
Monsanto Buys Terminator Technology: U.S. approves take-over of seed company
Ottawa, June 6, 2007 - On June 1, 2007 the United States Justice
Department gave the green light for Monsanto's $1.5 billion takeover of
the world's largest cotton seed company, Delta & Pine Land (D&PL) --
the US company that developed and patented the world's first Terminator
Terminator seeds are genetically engineered to be sterile after first
harvest and were developed to stop farmers from saving seed.
"As the biggest seed company in the world, Monsanto stands to gain the
most by incorporating Terminator technology into all its seeds, thus
forcing farmers to buy new seed every year" said Lucy Sharratt,
Coordinator of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network.
Monsanto will now own Delta & Pine Land's greenhouse tests of
Terminator seeds and rights to its Canadian patent on Terminator
granted on October 11 2005. D&PL has long vowed to commercialize
Terminator, targeting rice, wheat and soy in particular.
Monsanto's deal comes just one day after Bill C-448, a Private Members
Bill which would ban Terminator in Canada, was tabled by Alex
Atamanenko, Agriculture Critic for the New Democratic Party and MP for
B.C. Southern Interior.
"Monsanto's purchase of Terminator is a nightmare scenario for the
world's farmers," said Sharratt. "A ban on in Canada is urgently needed
to stop Monsanto from ever using Terminator. Canadian farmers need our
Government to take a stand against this shocking technology."
Monsanto tried to buy D&PL in 1998 but abandoned the deal. In 1998 the
first Terminator patent (D&PL's) was discovered and by 1999 the
international uproar over Terminator had forced Monsanto to pledge not
to commercialize the technology. In 2006 Monsanto was caught
backtracking on that pledge.
For more information: Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator, Canadian
Biotechnology Action Network, 613 241 2267 firstname.lastname@example.org
Monsanto and Terminator - Background
1998: Monsanto bid to buy Delta & Pine Land but the deal collapsed amid
global controversy over Delta & Pine Land's Terminator patent.
1999: Monsanto stated, "we are making a public commitment not to
commercialize sterile seed technologies, such as the one dubbed
'Terminator.'" The pledge was made in a letter to Rockefeller
Foundation President Gordon Conway after pressure from the Foundation
and public uproar.
2005: Monsanto reworded its 1999 pledge: "Monsanto made a commitment
not to commercialize sterile-seed technologies in food crops. It
continues to stand by that commitment today, but Monsanto people
constantly reevaluate this stance as technology develops."(emphasis
added) Monsanto apologized for this "added language" and restated in a
letter to the Ban Terminator Campaign (Feb 27, 2006) that, "We stand by
our commitment to not use genetic engineering methods that result in
sterile seeds. Period."
2006: In August Monsanto announced its bid to buy Delta & Pine Land -
the deal was completed June 1st 2007.
o Although Monsanto repeatedly insists that it does not hold patents on
Terminator, Monsanto was granted a Terminator patent published under
the Patent Cooperation Treaty, WO97/44465 "Method for Controlling Seed
Germinator Using Soybean ACYL COA Oxidase Sequences." The 91-page
patent, published in November 1997, details the company's research on
genetic seed sterilization and offers evidence of the company's
intention to apply for patents in patent offices worldwide.
o On October 11, 2005 The Canadian Patent Office granted a patent to
Delta & Pine Land and the US Department of Agriculture for the
Terminator technology they developed together.
o Monsanto is the world's largest seed company and accounts for more
than one-fifth of the global proprietary seed market.
o Monsanto made US $4,028 million from seed sales in 2006.
o Based on 2006 revenues, the top 10 seed corporations account for 55%
of the commercial seed market worldwide.
o The top 3 companies - Monsanto, Dupont and Syngenta - account for
$8,552 million - or 44% of the total proprietary seed market.
(Source: ETC Group, April 30, 2007www.etcgroup.org)
Delta & Pine Land
o D&PL is a cotton seed and soybean seed company - the largest cotton
seed company in the US.
o Delta & Pine Land runs greenhouse tests of Terminator in the US.