Getting Rid of Crop Seed

Sounds pretty ominous. It is.

A new technology has been developed, by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, that could potentially sterilize the seed produced by all crops, preventing the seed from being replanted.

The Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI), dedicated to protecting the rights of farmers and growers, calls the new technology the Terminator. Others call it the neutron bomb of agriculture.

At this juncture, you might ask, Why would anyone wish to get rid of seed? The answer is simple enough: There is a lot of money to be made by controlling the food supply.

Hybridization was one step in this direction; Terminator will complete the process.

Hybridization occurs when two varieties are crossed to produce a plant with certain desirable characteristics. These improved varieties have certain advantages to farmers, such as increased yield and vigor. But commercially bred hybrids do not produce offspring that is of the same quality of the first generation. This forces the farmer to buy higher-priced commercial seed every year. So it has both advantages and disadvantages.

But the new Terminator technology was solely developed to control seed supply; it does not improve the seed or the plant in any way! It was designed to make money for big business. This, of course, will place everyone farmers who grow the crops and the rest of us who buy and eat those crops at the mercy of a few powerful cartels.

Edward Hammond, program officer at RAFI-USA in Pittsboro, North Carolina, says the new technology is far more advanced than the standard plant hybridization that has been practiced for years. This new technology is aimed solely at preventing the germination of anything that is grown in the farmers field. Theres no agronomic benefit in exchange  for the technology, Hammond declares.

The new Terminator technology was developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture  (USDA) in partnership with Delta & Pine Land Company, a large commercial seed breeder. On March 3, 1998, Delta & Pine announced it had been awarded a patent on the invention.

At the present time, only cotton and tobacco seeds are under the new patent, but a much broader range of crops is expected to be under potential Terminator control by the year 2000.

While hybrid seed produces plants with inferior second generation seed, the Terminator has the ability to switch the plants reproductive processes on and off.

Rice, wheat, sorghum, and soybeans are primary targets for Terminator because it is difficult to hybridize them. Any seed which cannot be controlled, cannot be patented, and the big agribusiness breeders cannot make money on it. But Terminator will change all this.

In order to avoid intervention from the U.S. Congress, the Terminator-patented versions of previously open-pollinated crops will at first be sold by the agribreeders only in third world nations.

Those poor farmers have for thousands of years been breeding, saving, and replanting their seed. But that is going to change.

Hammond, of RAFI-USA, says The sole purpose of Terminator is to sterilize seed. He is deeply disturbed that the USDA is helping to develop the process, and that the immediate target is control over seed in the hunger-plagued third world.

But the reason is agronomics. Sounds scientific, doesn't it? But the word just means devising ways to make more money on crops.

If third world staple crops, such as rice and wheat, can be locked up by Terminator, investors will pour money into commercially bred seed that farmers will have to buy year after year. Until now, business interests were not interested in developing seeds for such markets.

Developers of Terminator maintain that it is a harmless development, and that local farmers can choose to plant regular not Terminator seed. But that is not true.

Camila Montecinos, an agronomist with the Chilean organization, CET, says crop geneticists have told them that it is likely that crops carrying the Terminator trait will infect the fields of farmers who reject or cannot afford it. Their crop will not reveal the defect until the next year, when they attempt to plant the seed saved and discover, too late, that it is sterile. If the technology is transmitted through recessive genes, irregular harvests could produce dramatic declines in crop production in ever widening areas.

Half the worlds farmers are too poor to buy commercial seed every year. They feed 100 million in Latin America, 300 million in Africa, and 1 billion in Asia. Not only would half the worlds farms face extinction, so would the 1.4 billion people fed by them.

Now you can see why it is called Terminator.

Control the food and you control the people. Food is power. We use it to change behavior. Some may call it bribery. We do not apologize, exclaimed Catherine Bertini, Executive Director of the World Food Program at the Beijing Woman's Conference, in September 1995.

Throughout Africa, during his recent trip, Clinton told the people that the U.S. had plans for them: We must build classrooms and companies, increase the food supply, save the environment, and prevent disease. The United States is ready to help you. So were representatives of multi-national corporations who comprised a major part of Clintons 700-member delegation.

Surely, we are nearing the end. Signs all point to it. The threat of this new fearful device, the terminator, recalls to my mind Gods promise that He will soon have to destroy the destroyers of the earth (Revelation 11:18).                                                   vf