Tuesday, October 5, 1999 Published at 17:12 GMT 18:12 UK
World: South Asia
Farmers welcome halt of 'terminator'
Saving seeds from crops is a practice as old as farming itself
By Habib Beary in Bangalore
Indian farmers have welcomed the decision by the American biotechnology company Monsanto not to develop its so-called "terminator gene" technology for genetically-modified crops.
Similar protests were held in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
The farmers argued that terminator gene technology would have sterilised the seeds used by farmers, making them unusable for reproduction.
Although the company had denied that it had plans to launch the technology in India, many militant farmers had attacked fields in Karnataka where Monsanto was said to be conducting trials on pest-resistant cotton seeds.
The state's Agriculture Minister, C Byre Gowda, told the BBC that his government was the first in the country to oppose Monsanto's terminator gene.
Mr Gowda described the company's decision to withdraw the gene as "well and good".
The company's announcement is also likely to be welcomed by the Indian Government, which has called for the World Trade Organisation to take action against what they have described as biopiracy.
They are particularly concerned by the efforts of Western food companies to patent different forms of rice.