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2009-04-27 |

Western Australian upper house to decide about stalling GE canoly trials

THE WESTERN Australian government’s plans to conduct trials on genetically modified canola have hit a speed hump, with an upper house motion tabled to design to stall the trials. Late last week, a disallowance motion was put to the WA upper house in a bid to halt the trials, as we head deeper into April and the traditional canola sowing window for much of the state. It was moved by Greens member Paul Llewellyn and was passed with the assistance of independent Anthony Fels.

2009-04-27 |

Australian professor and GE canola grower runs gene flow project

A Grains Research and Development Corporation funded research project, ’Gene flow in transgenic Roundup Ready (RR) Canola’, will be one of the 20 genetically modified GM canola trials covering 854 hectares in WA this season. Internationally recognised expert on herbicide resistance in crops and weeds, Professor Stephen Powles, Director of the WA Herbicide Resistance Initiative (WAHRI) at The University of Western Australia (UWA) and WAHRI researcher, Dr Roberto Busi, will drive the WA component of the five-year national project.

2009-04-24 |

Monsanto and African Governments see hope in GE crops

GENETICALLY Modified cotton will be planted at different sites in May and June this year, an official has revealed. ”We are on the right track. The technology providers are positive. They have visited all the sites and at last the trails which had delayed for the last seven years are going to be conducted,” said Dr.Tilahun Zeweldu, who has been at the forefront of Bt. Cotton research. [...] Speaking recently at a stakeholders meeting at Mosa Court in Kampala, the Monsanto South Africa’s business development manager, Danie Olivier, said the trials would be conducted for three consecutive seasons.

2009-04-24 |

Are big farms the key to African development?

Whether big farms are the key to Africa’s future has been a matter of debate for more than a generation. While increasing agricultural productivity is a key to poverty alleviation, achieving it is more complex. African history offers few reassuring precedents, for successful development has come at a high price – the landlessness of Zimbabweans, say, or the long grip on political power of the white Kenyans.

2009-04-24 |

U.S. Agriculture Secretary pledges better international push on GE crops

If there was any question about how the Obama administration would get behind agricultural biotechnology, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is removing any doubt. In fact, he says he’s going to do a better job than the Bush administration. Just back from the G8 summit in Italy, Vilsack pledged today to bring a ”more comprehensive and integrated” approach to promoting ag biotech overseas.

2009-04-24 |

Philippine law to punish makers of harmful GMOs sought

The Third World Network (TWN) said the government’s current rules allowing victims to seek redress for harm caused by GMOs have been purely administrative remedies (with no civil and criminal liabilities) and could not provide sufficient relief for victims. In a paper titled, ”Liability and redress in GMOs in the Philippines,” the TWN said even laws on criminal and civil liabilities were not prepared to confront GMO-related disputes since the kind of damage caused by GMOs have been uncommon.

2009-04-24 |

Philippine biotech program undelines importance of non-GE approaches

According to Dr. Ida F. Dalamacio of BIOTECH, speculative fear of genetically modified organisms and biotechnology has prevented people from understanding the real potentials and benefits of biotechnology application in agriculture. Dalamacio also clarified that there is more to agribiotechnology than the GMOs and expounded on how biotechnology can be applied to agriculture.

2009-04-24 |

More banned GE maize found in Negros Occidental (Philippines)

Two more shipments of genetically modified corn worth about P14 million have been intercepted in Negros Occidental, Provincial Agriculturist Igmedio Tabianan said yesterday. As this developed, international environment group, Greenpeace, said it is demanding that the Philippine government issue an outright nationwide ban on all genetically-modified food crops.

2009-04-23 |

International Egg Commission warns about 600% feed cost increase

Peter van Horne, an economic analyst with the International Egg Commission, told the IEC London Conference that expenditure on feed could rise by as much as 600 per cent if the EU did not act. It needed to speed up the approval process for new varieties of genetically modified crops and adopt a more relaxed approach to those varieties awaiting approval. He told the conference that there had been a rapid increase in the cultivation of GM crops and this could prove to be a problem, particularly in Europe.

2009-04-23 |

Monsanto seeks end to German GMO maize ban for ’09 crop

Monsanto, the world’s biggest seed company, said on Wednesday it hoped legal action to end Germany’s ban on growing its genetically modified (GMO) maize would allow the variety to be sown for the 2009 harvest. On Tuesday, Monsanto said it had started legal action against the decision on April 14 by German Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner to ban cultivation and sale of Monanto’s MON 810 GMO maize which stopped it being sown for this year’s harvest.

2009-04-23 |

German farm minister rejects ex-Monsanto’s pig patent

German Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner has come out strongly against a European patent application for a test to check pigs for a gene that makes them produce more meat. ”Breeding livestock through cross-breeding and selective breeding must remain a patent-free zone,” Aigner is quoted as saying in a pre-released interview with the Sunday edition of the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, ”It would not be acceptable for a firm to patent a genetically altered animal and afterwards demand license fees from breeders, whose animals exhibited this gene,” she said.

2009-04-23 |

Labeling of GE food to be annuled in Ukraine

Beginning from May 1 compulsory labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMO) will be annuled, a chief of GMO laboratory at Ukrmetrstandart Ruslan Holubetz reported. The Cabinet has not approved labeling procedures, reports the Segodnya newspaper. According to first deputy head of the All-Ukrainian ecological league Tatiana Timochko, high-ranking officials are lobbying procrastinations of procedure. Probably, they are owners of works in Ukraine producing food with GMO and businessmen relating to import production with GMO.

2009-04-23 |

Croatian Agriculture Association opposed to GMO

Newly elected Croatian Agriculture Association head Zeljko Mavrovic has come out in opposition to the use of genetically-modified organisms in Croatia. Mavrovic, a retired boxer turned entrepreneur, called GMO ”seeds of evil and deceit” [...] 

He held a press conference just before the start of a workshop on the subject of the possible coexistence of GMO and ecological agriculture conducted by Brit Jeremy Sweet.

2009-04-23 |

Spain, environmentalists and farmers say no to GMOs

Thousands of farmers and environmentalists coming from every part of Spain marched in Zaragoza last Saturday under the theme ”For GMO-free food and farming.” Spain is the country that produces the highest volume of GMOs in Europe, and Aragon is the leading region in the Country. The demonstration has been led by several organizations of farmers and environmentalists from across Spain against genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

2009-04-22 |

Maine (USA) struggles about tougher GE crop laws

Legislators on the Agriculture, Forestry and Conservation Committee learned Friday that 12 years after they first began hearing bills on genetically engineered crops, it wasn’t any easier. Testimony on five genetically engineered crop bills revealed a high level of passion and fear. ”This isn’t about science,” Rep. Benjamin Marriner Pratt, D-Bangor, who sponsored three of the five bills presented Friday, told his colleagues. ”These issues go beyond biology. They go beyond science and the scientific method. To pretend otherwise is to do a disservice to the people of Maine.”

2009-04-22 |

Hawai’i (USA) Senate passes bill on GE taro ban

The ”Taro Security Bill” was approved by the state Senate on third reading Thursday, after passing in the House last month. It will ban the controversial practice of using and developing genetically modified organisms for Hawaiian varieties of taro only. The ban, which for four years has attracted crowds to the Capitol, slipped through almost unnoticed as lawmakers approved more than 300 bills this week. The final version of House Bill 1663 and Senate Bill 709 will be hashed out next week in conference committee before being sent to Gov. Linda Lingle for her signature.

2009-04-22 |

’Superweed’ explosion threatens Monsanto heartlands

”Superweeds” are plaguing high-tech Monsanto crops in southern US states, driving farmers to use more herbicides, return to conventional crops or even abandon their farms. The gospel of high-tech genetically modified (GM) crops is not sounding quite so sweet in the land of the converted. A new pest, the evil pigweed, is hitting headlines and chomping its way across Sun Belt states, threatening to transform cotton and soybean plots into weed battlefields.

2009-04-22 |

Argentine Defense Department vetoed transgenic soya cultivation in military properties

The minister of Defense, Nilda Garré, vetoed this Monday the transgenic soya cultivation in urban or suburban properties of three Armed forces. The resolution MD 367, dated this Monday by Defense, promotes the renegotiation of the conditions of current contracts to adopt them at the disposal and points out that ”the effects of this cultivation are not neutral” in the environment and the health.

2009-04-22 |

Monsanto sues Germany over GMO maize ban

Monsanto Co , the world’s biggest seed company, has filed suit against the German government’s decision to ban genetically modified (GMO) maize, the company said on Tuesday. The German government banned the cultivation and sale of GMO maize despite European Union rulings that the biotech grain is safe. The ban affects Monsanto’s MON 810 maize, which may no longer be sown for this summer’s harvest, the government said.

2009-04-22 |

German minister pushed to ban GM potatoes, newspaper says

German Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner is under pressure from her Christian Social Union party to ban planting of genetically modified potatoes, Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported, citing unidentified people. A ban would put Aigner and the CSU in conflict with Chancellor Angela Merkel, who heads the Christian Democratic Union, and Annette Schavan, the country’s research minister, the newspaper said.

2009-04-21 |

How GE crops can save the world

In the poorest nations of the tropics and subtropics — areas that are home to nearly half of the human population — rising temperatures from global climate change promise to devastate staple crops, such as rice and maize, by the end of the century. ”There is a chance that we might be able to stem the effects on plant yield from this climate change,” said L. Curtis Hannah, a plant molecular biology researcher at the University of Florida. ”But a betting man knows that our best chance is to learn to adapt — to develop crops that will feed people in a hotter climate.”

2009-04-21 |

U.S. researchers’ ethics questioned for feeding Chinese children GE rice

Researchers at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy have come under fire for a study involving feeding genetically modified food to children. In February, a group of 32 scientists from around the world sent an open letter to the school, citing code violations and inadequate preparatory research. A Wales-based group against genetically modified food coordinated the initiative.

2009-04-21 |

Bayer plans to overcome public hostility in 10 years

Aware of continuing public hostility, marshalled by environmental NGOs and arguments about the long-term safety of the food chain allegedly threatened by genetically modified organisms, Plischke [board member for innovation, technology and environment] still insists that the real issue is the growing threat to food security posed by climate change, growth in the global population to 7.5 billion by 2020, scarcity of agricultural land and urbanisation. [...] ”The trouble is that we’re trying to have a concentrated debate on scientific issues but the public debate isn’t about content but values. It’s really hard to discuss issues without a shared set of objectives.

2009-04-21 |

Monsanto launches image campaigns aiming at Indian and minority U.S. farmers

Monsanto recently launched Project SHARE (Sustainable Harvest - Agriculture, Resources, Environment) in India. The project is Monsanto’s fourth partnership under its commitment to sustainable yield—produce more, conserve more and improve farmers’ lives. Project SHARE is a four-year pilot project that aims to improve the socio-economic conditions of 10,000 small-marginal cotton and corn farmers—from 1,100 villages, across three states in India—Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan—to help them improve yield and income.

2009-04-21 |

New U.S. bill supporting patented seeds divides aid groups

A new push for federal funding of genetically-modified crops has touched off a battle among non-profit organizations seeking to help developing countries and ease world hunger. On one side is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Chicago Council for Global Affairs, which supported a study calling for the federal government to finance new agricultural biotechnology research. Using this study, Senators Richard Lugar and Robert Casey have introduced the Global Food Security Act (SB 384), which would direct more than $7 billion in government subsidies to biotech companies for development of new GM crops.

2009-04-21 |

Irish Missionary Union calls for objection to ’pro-GMO’ Vatican study week

The Irish Missionary Union (IMU) is calling on all members to register their objection to a GMO Study Week in Rome for being one-sided. The Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences is organising a study week in May on ”Transgenic Plants for Food Security in the Context of Development”. According to the brochure, the idea of the conference is to explore arguments as to why food security for the poor needs efficient access to GM-technology and why ’extreme precautionary regulation’ is unjustified.

2009-04-17 |

Western Australian Government announces GM Canola trial sites

Agriculture and Food Minister Terry Redman today announced the locations of the 20 genetically modified canola trials in Western Australia. The locations comprise 17 farmer trials and three research trials, covering 854 hectares across the State. Mr Redman said the trials would see three farmer sites at Cunderdin, two at Woogenellup and York, and single sites at Aldersyde, Beverley, Bulyee, Dudinin, Frankland River, Kendenup, Many Peaks, Mobrup, Quairading, South Stirling. The sites vary in size from 30 to 70 hectares.

2009-04-17 |

Farmers relying on Roundup lose some of its benefit

Bill Johnson, a Purdue University associate professor of weed science, said farmers who plant Roundup Ready crops and spray Roundup or glyphosate-based herbicides almost exclusively are finding that weeds have developed resistance. It is only a matter of time, Johnson said, before there are so many resistant weeds that the use of glyphosate products would become much less effective in some places.

2009-04-17 |

GM battle hotting up in India

From North to South, the battle for saving our favourite vegetable brinjal from being poisoned with genetic modification is heating up. The day (April 2) a large number of protestors under the banner of Safe Food Alliance, and led by Mr Vellaiyan, a leader of the Tamil Nadu Traders Association, were arrested for staging a peaceful protest against the field trials for GM corn being held inside the premises of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University at Coimbatore, Swami Ramdev launched a nation-wide campaign to protect the country from the influx of dangerous GM crops/foods

2009-04-17 |

Different timelines on Bt Brinjal commercialisation in India

Commercial launch of the country’s first transgenic food crop — Bt Brinjal — might take much longer than expected with the government still awaiting the required data for analysis. [...] Ranjini Warrier, member secretary of GEAC, said in New Delhi, ”It might take one more year to introduce the crop. A lot of data still needs to be collected because trials have, so far, been conducted in confined environment.”

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