A desire to find ways to produce sterile seed might be taken as evidence that seed companies recognize that the hybrid seed approach limits the potential to increase yields. From their perspective, though, the best way to capture the profits from sales of superior products is to make them irreproducible (just as computer software makers strive to limit the number of copies that can be made from software that they sell).
The only way that farmers anywhere would buy seed that they knew would produce sterile seed would be if it promised -- and delivered -- yields enough larger than conventional varieties yields to justify the annual repurchase of seed. If this weren't achieved, nobody would buy the seed. Also, having high-yielding, terminator seed on the market would provide a market opportunity for seed suppliers who prominently refused to incorporate that technology (ie, a sales point would be that the progeny seed could be used to seed next year's crop).
I still haven't read anything that makes this story so scary to so many people. These companies are doing what any commercial company is set up to do, namely, make money for the owners/shareholders. If they chose a strategy that consumers (ie, their marketplace) find helpful to them, then the strategy has a chance to succeed. If the consumers find the approach is detrimental (or, at least, not beneficial, to their wellbeing, the company strategy fails.
Monsanto is a big company, but it doesn't own the will of the consumers; they make their own decisions. Each farmer who thinks about buying a seed or other product from one of these big companies, does the math for him/herself -- they don't buy these products if they aren't convinced that the productivity gains justify the extra cost and dependency that goes with it.
If the farmers are being convinced of the benefits of these technologies falsely, via propaganda from the powerful manufacturer/advocates, then it is certainly worthwhile for those with documented counter-evidence to spread it far and wide.
I would hope that government could be a more impartial dispenser of such information -- too often, one hears the concern expressed that extension folks act too much like salesmen for these big companies. Farmers have been bombarded with over-hyped advertising for decades; they have a built-in skepticism about the claims being made. Who can they turn to to get an unbiased assessment of the actual merits of the various choices they could make?
In my view, that should be the role of government. Trying to stop the introduction of a technology that might be successful and, coincidentally, bring in increased profits for the company introducing it, should only be a concern of government if it can clearly be shown that the technology threatens public health or welfare. That hasn't been shown for terminator or the other biotech innovations promulgated by Monsanto, Novartis and the others (including the bio-med GE companies).
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