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Schmeiser campaigns against transgenics in Kenya

(Sept. 18, 2001 CropChoice news) Canadian canola farmer Percy Schmeiser traveled to Kenya to campaign against the planting of transgenic crops.

Schmeiser told his Kenyan counterparts that biotechnology patents on transgenic seeds would prevent them from saving the seed, a historical right of farmers.

In response to a lawsuit that Monsanto launched against Schmeiser in June 2000, the Federal Court of Canada ruled in May of this year that the Saskatchewan farmer had to pay $20,000 in damages to Monsanto for infringing the patent on its transgenic canola that resists the herbicide Roundup (glyphosate) Roundup Ready canola.

Schmeiser says that the transgenic canola either cross-pollinated with his conventional crop or blew onto his property from a passing truck. It contaminated the seed that he had developed over decades. He says its a technology that Monsanto cant control, noting that it has become a super weed.

Monsanto estimated that tests showed between 95 and 98 percent Roundup Ready canola in his fields, too much to attribute to cross-pollination.

Kenya, which has a pro-biotechnology policy, has begun field testing of a transgenic sweet potato.