Ugandan farmers oppose GMOs and Terminator seeds (23/9/2005)

1.Ugandan farmers oppose GMOs and Terminator seeds
2.Ugandan farmers' statement

To make your voice heard, see item 3

1."GMOs and Terminator Seeds a Threat to Food Security" Say Eastern Ugandan Farmers and Civil Society
Food Rights Network (FORINET) Eastern Uganda
22 September 2005

A network of Eastern Ugandan civil society organisations including farmers' organisations, community based organisations, and non-governmental organisations, called the Food Rights Network (FORINET), today stated their opposition to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and sterile "Terminator" technology.

Speaking at a press conference held in Jinja, they called for caution when considering GMO technology in Ugandan agriculture, and highlighted their particular concerns over "Terminator" seeds.

GMOs are controversial crops created using a new laboratory technique, where genes from different species are inserted into crops to give them new traits. There are many associated risks with GMOs, which include the economic, health and environmental risks, as well as the problems that they will bring to farmers. GM crops are currently not grown commercially in Uganda, but the Government may see a role for them in the country's agriculture.

"GMOs will threaten farmers' livelihoods here in Uganda," said Nuulu Kasiira of Nakalama Farmers’ Association. "GM seeds will be more expensive than conventional seeds, and they will be patented by the corporations, which means that farmers are not allowed to save the seed from their harvest, but must buy them every season."

"There is a risk that our indigenous varieties could get contaminated by GMOs through cross-pollination, bringing genes from different species into our seed. This may have unpredictable consequences, and we could lose our indigenous seed." Said Chebet Siraji of Kapchora District Farmers' Association.

In addition to commenting on GMOs, FORINET members also read out their submission to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) on Genetic Use Restriction Technology (GURTS), also known as "Terminator" technology.

Terminator is a kind of GMO technology that makes the harvest produce only sterile seeds. This is to prevent farmers from saving their seeds, so that they must go back to buy them again each season. There is currently an international ban on Terminator, implemented by the CBD, but the GM industry is pushing for an end to this ban. The CBD has called for farmers and community organizations to send their comments on GURTS/Terminator to the Secretariat.

"Where GMOs are accepted, it may be that this opens the door to Terminator," Okurut Stephen of Pallisa Farmers’ Association. "Terminator will make farmers and Ugandans dependent on foreign corporations as we will have to buy seed every season because the seeds will be sterile. How can the industry claim that GM crops will improve food security when the Terminator crops they promote produce sterile seeds?"

"We fear that Terminator might cross-pollinate with our indigenous varieties of seed, and render them sterile too. We might suffer crop losses, and lose our natural seed as a result. Terminator spells disaster for Uganda's farmers, particularly those that save their seed." said Okura Francis, co-ordinator of FORINET.

"We Ugandans have many cultural associations with seed and life." said Enokokin Erarakit Stephen of Iteso Cultural Union. "We find the idea of sterile seed offensive, and we wish to tell the GM corporations who promote it that they have no understanding of our needs, our seeds or our way of life."


1) FORINET members held their press conference at the Sunset Hotel, Jinja, on 22nd September 2005

2) FORINET is an alliance of farmers’ organisations, community-based organisations and civil society organisations based in 26 districts across Eastern Uganda.

3) The international ban on Terminator has been in place since 1999. However, at the most recent meeting of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Canadian delegation attempted to end the ban. It is strongly suspected that the Canadian delegation has been lobbied and influenced by the GM industry. For more information visit www.etcgroup.org

4) The CBD has put out a call for written submissions on GURTS/ Terminator, particularly from groups representing smallholder farmers, local communities and indigenous peoples. For more information please visit www.banterminator.org

5) No GM crops are currently grown commercially in Uganda, but President Yoweri Museveni has declared his support for the technology.

6) For more information on GMOs, please visit www.gmwatch.org

7) Contact: Frank Twinamatsiko, Tel: 077 430 726 for more information

2.Statement on Genetically Modified Organisms and Genetic Use Restriction Technology (GURTS) or "Terminator" Seeds
Food Rights Network (FORINET), Eastern Uganda
22 September 2005
Submission to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity Working Group on Article 8(j)
Advice on the report of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Genetic Use Restriction Technologies (GURTS)
Ref: SCBD/STTM/ DCO/va/48601

We, the members of the Food Rights Network (FORINET), an alliance of farmers’ organisations, community based organisations and civil society organisations based in 26 districts across Eastern Uganda have met today at a conference in Jinja, Uganda, on the 22nd September 2005. We thank the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) for giving us the opportunity to make our submission on the issue of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and specifically on Genetic Use Restriction Technologies (GURTS), also known here as "Terminator".

We understand that certain parties to the CBD are looking to re-examine the existing international moratorium on GURTS/ Terminator, with a view to ending it. It is for this reason that the CBD has called for submissions, and we feel compelled to respond.

Threat to Farming from GMOs

Firstly, we wish to share our concerns about GMOs. We object to the use of GMOs in our agriculture due to the many risks that they may pose to our economy, health and environment.

* GMOs will bring high costs to farmers because the seeds are patented by the corporations that sell them. Patented s

Go to a Print friendly Page

Email this Article to a Friend

Back to the Archive