It is an embarrassment that keynote speakers at an upcoming AgBio conference in Rotorua are from companies facing criminal charges and which are already embroiled in a bitter war with each other as well as against natural ecosystems.
Monsanto and DuPont are fighting among themselves over IP rights and the spoils of war aimed at control of the seed supply and sales of multi-herbicide resistant 'stacked' GE crops.
Reuters (1) reports Monsanto's won a billion US dollars, after a court decision in early August found against Dupont.
Dupont claims that Monsanto had acted fraudulently in obtaining patent rights.
Monsanto maintains that DuPont willfully violated its patent because its own technology was failing.
Meanwhile Monsanto is set to face criminal charges in India because of bio-piracy, though not related to the thousands of farmer suicides also linked to the company's other activities in India.(2)
The legal dispute, like smaller ones that have seen many ordinary farmers taken to court by Monsanto, centres on Roundup Ready license agreements.
It claims that the deal between DuPont and Monsanto contain an unwritten "implied" term that prohibited DuPont from stacking its Optimum GAT trait with Monsanto's Roundup Ready trait in soybeans or corn.
"The claim and counter-claim of fraud and criminal behaviour, is an embarrassment," says Jon Carapiet from GE-Free NZ in food and environment.
“Having speakers from such companies with a dark history and facing criminal charges, is a warning to farmers in New Zealand.”
It's for our farmers to wake up to what is being proposed for their future. The Agbio agenda must be pulled back from grip of extreme corporate science.
New Zealand's biotechnology and agricultural strategy must allow for contained use of gene technology such as Marker Assisted Breeding, but the bottom line is that our economy is best served by sustainable, ethical, GE-free and organic production that are now under threat of destruction.
Jon Carapiet 0210507681
Claire Bleakley 06 3089842 / 027 348 6731