GENET-news

 Below you find the postings of the last seven days.

 

2009-01-07 |

Increased indebtedness leads to farmer suicides in India

Increased indebtedness is a major cause for the spurt in farmers’ suicides during recent times across a number of states, according a recent report of the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS). A marginal farmer is defined as one having landholding less than 2.5 acre and a small farmer is defined as one having less than 5 acre. In India, a majority of the farmers are marginal and small.

2009-01-07 |

Optimism remains high on plunging Monsanto Company

While Monsanto Company has had a better 2008 than the S&P 500 Index (SPX), it hasn’t exactly earned the optimism that is prevalent on the Street. In fact, MON has dropped more than 37% (compared to the 38% slip in the broad market index), falling along with its 10-week moving average. The stock has plunged 51% from its June high, and is currently finding some support at the 70 level.

2009-01-07 |

Monsanto is ready to round up seed patent violators in Canada

Monsanto Canada Inc. will go to court on January 15 to settle a case with four farmers who allegedly illegally grew, harvested, and sold products developed from patented Monsanto seeds. The McGill Tribune contacted the farmers involved, but none were willing to comment before they go to court. The January hearing follows Monsanto’s December settlement with three Quebec farmers growing Roundup Ready canola without a license. The farmers agreed to pay $200 per acre.

2009-01-06 |

GM contaminated crop grown in blunder sparks fears gene will spread to other fields in the UK

A crop of oilseed rape contaminated with GM seeds has been illegally grown on a Somerset farm. Critics of the controversial technology worry that the error could threaten significant genetically-modified pollution of fields, weeds and honey. It seems that seeds sown on a Somerset farm last year were tainted with genes from a GM plant, probably because of cross-contamination in the U.S. The food and farming department Defra identified the error when the crop was harvested this summer and a link was drawn to another contamination incident involving the same seed in Scotland.

2009-01-06 |

Azerbaijan is subjected to all GMO use risks

Today independent research centre ELS and Green movement of Georgia have held a roundtable in Baku on the theme ”Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) & Biosafety of Eastern Europe, Caucasus, and Central Asia”. Centre’s head Irada Yagubova said that the Caucasus region is open for all risks associated with GMO. ”Azerbaijan has neither a biosafety law nor labs and a fund to deal with this problem,” Yagubova said.

2009-01-06 |

Biowatch (South Africa) takes its battle for GE crop trial costs to Constitutional Court

A NONGOVERNMENTAL organisation that won a court battle but was ordered to pay legal costs will now approach the Constitutional Court to argue why it should not pay the legal costs. [...] In February 2005, acting Judge Eric Dunn ruled that, although the general rule was that the costs should follow the result, he felt that the manner in which some of the trust’s requests for information were formulated had convinced him that it should not be granted a costs order in its favour.

2009-01-06 |

All eyes on Kenya’s President as controversial GMO bill awaits enactment

President Kibaki is facing a litmus test on whether to assent his signature to two controversial Bills passed by Parliament, but which will impact heavily on the country’s socio-economic wellbeing. The passing of the Biosafety Bill 2008 and the Anti-Counterfeit Bill 2008 moments before Parliament went on recess has solicited both jubilation and condemnation. So far, there have been street protests against the Biosafety Bill that aims to introduce genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the country with calls to the President not to sign it into law.

2009-01-06 |

BIO-EARN promoting biotechnology in Ethiopia

BIO-EARN, an East African regional network for the development of Biotechnology, announced that it is working toward promoting the application of biotechnology in agriculture, industry, and environmental management in order to contribute for the sustainable development of the country.
BIO-EARN project and research coordinator, Shumu Teferra told WIC that [...] the project is also working to release virus-resistant cassava and sweet potato varieties and innovate seed delivery system for sweet potato and cassava at the Awash Melkasa research institution.

2009-01-05 |

GE food no solution for food crisis, says Vatican’s Cardinal Martino

The responsibility for the food crisis ”is in the hands of unscrupulous people who focus only on profit and certainly not on the well-being of all people,” said Cardinal Martino. A more just system of distribution and not the manufacturing of genetically modified foods is the key to addressing the problem, he said. ”If one wants to pursue GMOs (genetically modified organisms) one can freely do so, but without hiding that it’s a way to make more profits,” he said.

2009-01-05 |

’Biotechnology no solution to food crisis’ in Nigeria

The Federal Government’s decision to accept the dictates of local or foreign modern biotechnology promoters of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) may lead to voiding the precautionary principle and surrendering Nigeria’s food sovereignty to colonialists whose only interest is profit and turning Nigeria into dumping ground for unproven technologies, Environmental Rights Action (ERA) has warned.

2009-01-05 |

Science will help feed world - Monsanto

The world’s appetite is growing, along with its affluence, bringing with it a demand for better quality food for the world’s new middle class. This means we need to grow more food, but on less land - which is the major challenge for farmers. Dr Robb Fraley, chief technology officer of Monsanto, has led some of the most far-reaching advances in crop production over the past couple of decades. Today, millions of acres of genetically-modified crops are grown around the world in more than 20 countries as this hi-tech farming has been adopted. And more than half the world’s cotton crops grown in China and India are produced from Monsanto’s GM seed.

2009-01-05 |

Irish blight fears spark call for GM potato

The fungal disease that wiped out the potato crop in the mid-19th century, causing more than 1m deaths, is posing a renewed menace after a more aggressive strain arrived, according to a leading scientist. This has prompted experts to intensify work, including using GM technology, to find a blight-resistant variety. Dr Ewen Mullins, a research officer with Teagasc, the agriculture and food development authority, said the risk of blight has become more serious in the past two years.

2009-01-05 |

Greenpeace India pleads for ban on GM food

Environmental group Greenpeace on Tuesday urged the Tamil Nadu Government to ban Genetically Modified (GM) food items in the state, saying they would adversely affect the health of the people and the state of agriculture. Talking to newspersons here, Jai Krishna, Sustainable Agriculture campaigner for Greenpeace said the GM foods were scientifically acknowledged as health hazards and have been shown to cause, allergies, liver and kidney toxicity, immune disorders and retarded growth.

2009-01-05 |

Ban GM food, GEAC member tells Indian Prime Minister

After the recent announcement by Anbumani Ramadoss, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, that he would not let GM foods enter India, Pushpa Bhargava, member of the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) and leading molecular biologist, has in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, urged a ban on all GM foods being imported into the country, until proper safurged a ban on all GM foods being imported into the country, until proper safety research was done on them.

2008-12-19 |

Indian GM crops battle heats up

While no scientific research has been done on the latest reports of allergies, the deputy managing director of Mahyco Monsanto Biotech, Raj Ketkar, says the technology has to go through rigorous allergy tests before getting approval. [...] ”Around the world this technology has been grown for twelve years and we have not had any instances of animals or people having any type of allergic reaction.” [...] But there are still many activists opposed to GM crops in India. Some argue there is a direct link between the thousands of suicides among cotton farmers in Maharashtra and the introduction of BT cotton in the area.

2008-12-19 |

Kerala (India) says no to genetically modified seeds

Opposing any type of trial-runs of genetically modified seeds in the state, the CPI(M) led LDF government in Kerala has asked the Centre to declare the State as ’G M free’ State in the country. It was the government’s declared policy that genetically modified seeds would not be allowed to be cultivated either on experimental basis or otherwise in the state, Agriculture Minister Mullakara Ratnakaran told the Assembly while replying to a submission.

2008-12-19 |

What does Vilsack’s appointment mean for the future of organic food and public lands?

Vilsack’s endorsement by big enviros and his vilification by food and small farms groups is not surprising. His record requires close examination. When former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack’s name first surfaced as a possible Secretary of Agriculture, it triggered an outcry among progressive foodies. The Organic Consumers Association organized a massive campaign in which 20,000 emails opposing Vilsack were sent to the transition team.

2008-12-19 |

Greens mixed on Obama’s Agriculture pick

Mr. Vilsack has been praised by environmentalists for his ambitious call for increased domestic production of renewable energy. Here’s what the Sierra Club had to say about his nomination: ”Governor Vilsack can play an important role in helping to bring about the clean energy economy in a way that benefits both farmers and rural communities and our environment. The USDA can take the lead in moving us past the corn-based ethanol of today toward the next-generation biofuels of tomorrow.

2008-12-19 |

U.S. Agriculture nominee draws praise

President-elect Barack Obama’s selection of Tom Vilsack, a former governor of a heartland state and a strong supporter of alternative energy sources, as agriculture secretary drew praise Wednesday from both environmentalists and farmers - groups that don’t often see eye to eye. ”Gov. Vilsack recognizes that farmers, ranchers and forest landowners have an important role to play in combatting climate change,” Robert Bonnie, vice president of land, water and wildlife for the Environmental Defense Fund, said in a statement. ”He is a strong supporter of a cap and trade program for greenhouse gases, carbon offsets and other measures to help stop global warming.”

2008-12-18 |

Recent research news on GE crop developments

Genetically-modified (GM) potatoes are likely to be on your plates soon. The Shimla-based Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI) has developed GM potato varieties with the Ama1 gene acclaimed for improved nutritional efficiency, that with RB gene for late blight resistance, and along with the Bt potato for insect resistance. The institute has also developed transgenic potatoes for reduction of cold-induced sweetening.

2008-12-18 |

Recent non-GE breeding successes

Russian wheat aphids hoping to feed and live comfortably on barley plants could be in for a big disappointment. That’s if they choose to attack a new kind of barley known as RWA-1758, which is highly resistant to the insect pest. [...] The plant’s lineage includes another ARS-developed barley [...] and a barley chosen from among the hundreds of wild, rare and cultivated barleys in an international collection maintained at Aberdeen by ARS curator and agronomist Harold Bockelman.

2008-12-18 |

ISAAA urges propagation of GE crops to reduce malnutrition, hunger worldwide

Agricultural biotechnology will help reduce hunger and malnutrition worldwide, particularly now that the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that the number of hungry people around the world has increased by 40 million. Dr. Rhodora Aldemita, senior program officer of the International Service for the Acquisition of AgriBiotech Applications (ISAAA), stressed that biotechnology is a most viable alternative system to boost yields of crops that have been genetically enhanced to provide consumers with adequate nutrients.

2008-12-18 |

Brazilian Association of Non-GMO Grain Producers expands non-GE offers

The Brazilian Association of Non-GMO Grain Producers, ABRANGE, declares that through its members it is able to originate or produce and crush or trade about 6.3 million metric tons of Brazilian Non-GMO beans or its products. ABRANGE also announces that besides its members other Brazilian traders or crushers are able to trade or crush, under regular programs, about 3.7 million tons of Brazilian Non GMO soybeans or its products, totaling about 10 million tons of Brazilian Non-GMO soybeans or its products (about 7.5 million tons of soy meal, about 1.9 million tons of soy oil and nearly 40,000 tons of lecithin).

2008-12-18 |

Switch to ecological engineering would aid independence

In your News Feature ’Is China ready for GM rice?’, you consider the merits of using genetically modified (GM) crops for pest control. But don’t overlook the potential of ecological engineering, which can provide an important and undervalued approach to tackling agricultural problems.

2008-12-18 |

Leading U.S. organic and natural food companies enroll in Non-GMO Project

The Non-GMO Project was originally formed by retailers in search of non-genetically modified (non-GMO) options for their customers who were concerned about negative impacts of GM foods. [...] trusted industry leaders, along with the 40+ members of the Project’s Technical Advisory Board and Communications Committee, are guiding the way in achieving the Non-GMO Project’s mission of providing consumers with an informed choice, and ensuring sustained availability of non-GMO options.

2008-12-17 |

Arcadia Biosciences and African Agricultural Technology Foundation enter into agreement for development of improved Afrian rice

Arcadia Biosciences, Inc., an agricultural technology company focused on products that benefit the environment and human health, and the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), a not-for-profit organization focused on the access and delivery of new agricultural technologies for African smallholder farmers, today announced an agreement in which Arcadia will perform technology development activities for Nitrogen Use Efficient and Salt-Tolerant African rice.

2008-12-17 |

Quebec (Canada) farmers admit to patent violation for growing Monsanto’s RR crops

Three Quebec farmers from the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region in Quebec who have admitted they infringed Monsanto’s patent by growing Roundup Ready® crops without the required license will pay Monsanto thousands of dollars in settlement money. Through its annual technology protection audit program, Monsanto Canada discovered the violations and worked with the three growers to come up with settlement terms agreeable to both sides. All the growers involved agreed to pay Monsanto $200 per acre for their infringement.

2008-12-17 |

India plans patent reform to support commercialization of public research

India’s parliament will soon be scrutinizing a bill intended to help publicly funded institutes and universities commercialize their research. India’s science minister, Kapil Sibal, is confident that the bill will become law and will help Indian universities ”make millions through patents”. But the bill has been pushed through without an open debate and is not publicly available, prompting concern. ”In a democracy you cannot bulldoze a bill like this,” says Pushpa Bhargava, former vice-chair of the National Knowledge Commission.

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