Camila Montecinos





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Quick Facts about "Terminator Technology" from Greenpeace






















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Camila Montecinos has worked with farmers all of her professional life. Camila Montecinos is an agronomist that works for Genetic Resources Action International (GRAIN). She has been a member of this staff since March of 2002 (About, 2003). She was formerly the global coordinator of the Community Biodiversity Development and Conservation project (Montecinos, 1996). In addition to this position, she worked for the Center for Education and Technology (CET) in Santiago, Chile (About, 2003; Montecinos, 1996; MOF&G, 2002). It was at this organization where she did her most prominent work. This organization was the first Chilean non-governmental organization (NGO) to work with farmers on agricultural issues (About, 2003). Camila Montecinos progressed on from CET to devote her labors to the Center for Education and Technology SUR- the daughter organization of CET - before joining GRAIN in 2002 (Montecinos, 2002).

"1.4 billion farm families are at risk" (MOF&G, 1998)

Camila Montecinos' current focus is combating the production of “terminator” seeds (Montecinos, 2002; Montecinos, 1998). “Terminator” seeds are seeds that can be planted once, and the next generation of seeds produced by these seeds are sterile or lack a beneficial quality. "Terminator" seeds contain a gene that makes them sterile (Montecinos, 1998). Montecinos' belief is that terminator seeds give companies like Monsanto rights to a plant's life ( Montecinos, 1996 ). Montecinos asserts that these seeds rob framers of their right to save and replant seeds (MOF&G, 1998). Also, she thinks that companies that produce these seeds are prohibiting farmers from performing the farming practices that have been part of the farmers' culture for years (Montecinos, 1996). Montecinos states that farmers in her country do not adapt to modern techniques, because they do not need to (Montecinos, 1995). Camila Montecinos does not dislike all genetically modified organisms; rather she is strongly opposed to the terminator gene being implanted into seeds. These seeds disadvantage 1.4 billion farmers who currently replant seeds (Montecinos, 1998).

"This is an immoral technique that robs farming communities of their age-old right to save seed..." (MOF&G, 1998)

Montecinos demands a global boycott of these seeds, as well as legal action against the production of these seeds (MOF&G, 1998). She advises farmers that they have the right to find other procedures to use (Montecinos, 1995). Her efforts have been directed at prohibiting the allocation of intellectual property rights to the makers of these seeds. Her fundamental argument for her fight is that indigenous Chileans do not believe in the right of a company to own "life". Chilean farmers believe that life and knowledge are entities that should be shared as a “gift” (Montecinos, 1996). Chilean farmers do not consider life and knowledge as property, because it is not something that should be sold. Thus, Montecinos argues that farmers should not be forced to purchase seeds every year (Montecinos, 1996). Besides this cultural difference, the farmers cannot afford to buy these seeds each year (MOF&G, 1998).

"This is a patent that really turns on the greed gene."(MOF&G, 1998)



About GRAIN Staff Page . 29 Sept. 2003 . Genetic Resources Action and International. 24 Jan. 2004 . <>.

MOF&G Online. Biotech Activists Oppose “Terminator Technology.” June 1998. Maine Organic Farmers and Gardners Association. 24 Jan. 2004 . < >.

Montecinos, C. (2002). The Ecology of Action. Seedling, 11-16 .

Montecinos, C. (1995). We All (Should) Know. Biotechnology and Development Monitor 22 , 24.

Montecinos, C. Genetic Engineering and World Hunger. Mar. 1998. Greenpeace. 24 Jan. 2004 . < >.

Montecinos, C. “Sui Generis- A Dead End Alley.” Seedling Dec. 1996. 24 Jan. 2004. < >.

References for Images.

About GRAIN Staff Page . 29 Sept. 2003 . Genetic Resources Action and International. 24 Jan. 2004 . <>.

GM crops won't solve world hunger - British agency. 30 Jan 2004. 24 Jan 2004. <>




Page maintained by Kevin Saunders (Student at Davidson College). Last updated January 26, 2004.