Monsanto Lambasted in Zimbabwe by Government and Non-governmental Delegates


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At a national conference on agricultural biotechnology held in Harare September 24th, Monsanto was lambasted by more than 350 government and nongovernmental delegates, including representatives of the diplomatic corps. The company came under fire for both its handling of Bt Cotton and Terminator Technology. Apparently some of Zimbabwe's biggest cotton farmers slipped Monsanto's Bt cotton varieties into the country last year for a little unauthorized sneak preview. When officials learned of it, the plants were uprooted but the company has been held in suspicion ever since. However, few attending the Conference knew about the Terminator until RAFI's Pat Mooney spread the word during a keynote address.

Mooney's remarks were obviously not to the liking of the numerous Monsanto/ Cargill/ DeltaPine representatives in the room. Wally Green from Monsanto's South Africa office demanded podium time to defend what he termed "Gene Protection". Green concluded by advising his audience that if farmers didn't want 'Gene Protection' they didn't have to buy it. In the ensuing uproar, Zimbabwe officials told Mr. Green of instances where either government rules or commercial credit had forced farmers to grow certain crop varieties.

Conference organizers then restructured the meeting to allow for a full debate. Much to the delight of the meeting, the flustered Green unwittingly fell to calling the technology "Terminator" himself. (Officially, Monsanto calls the Terminator "TPS - Technology Protection System".) Then, with national television cameras whirring, Green threw in the towel, telling the audience that "It must be obvious to everyone here that Mr. Mooney knows much more about the Terminator that I do. ... All I can do is take note of what has been said here and report back to my company." Green also said that he had been sent by Monsanto specifically to defend the Terminator. He was last seen surrounded by other company officials being hustled out of the meeting.

More information about Monsanto Terminator Seed Dangers.

[Posted by Chris Wheeler]