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2009-03-06 |

Christian Democratic Party of Georgia initiates control of GM products

Christian Democratic Party of Georgia will focus on the problem of the genetically modified products at the meeting with the Minister of Agriculture and the experts of the sphere. The opposition party believes special legislative base should guarantee control of the GM products in Georgia.

2009-03-05 |

GE wheat may become next controversy

Turkey’s wheat harvest may rise about 12 percent this year as fresh rains and government assistance help farmers recover from last year’s drought, Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker said on Tuesday. [...] While farmers are experimenting with strains that are more resistant to drought, the ministry remains opposed to the use of genetically modified crops, Eker said. The government is preparing legislation that may allow genetically modified produce to be used in restricted test areas, he said.

2009-03-05 |

Canadian farmer warns Australian collegues of GM dangers

LITIGATION and crop contamination are inherent dangers of growing genetically-modified crops, according to Canadian farmer Ross Murray and United States seed cleaner Moe Parr. Both were speakers at forums in South Australia this week organised by the Network of Concerned Farmers, Biological Farmers of Australia, Gene Ethics and Greenpeace. Mr Parr said his legal run-in with Monsanto had effectively turned him into an ”unpaid compliance officer”.

2009-03-05 |

Europe’s largest dairy producer, Campina, kicks off GE-free ad campaign

Europe’s largest dairy producer, Campina, is the first food manufacturer to use Germany’s still-new law to make a positive claim of ”ohne Gentechnik” (German for ”without biotechnology”) on a major brand. Already since last October, all of its drinking milk on retailer shelves carries this claim. The company kicked off a major advertising campaign last night on its Landliebe® brand website.

2009-03-05 |

Modified genes contaminated Mexican corn

One of the more acrimonious scientific debates of the decade may have ended with the publication of a study showing that genetically modified material did contaminate native corn in the crop’s birthplace in southern Mexico, scientists said Wednesday. But Elena Alvarez Buylla, author of the article published in the February edition of Molecular Ecology, said the difficult atmosphere surrounding the original debate — which threatened the reputations of some scientists — persists.

2009-03-05 |

USDA: ”GMO contamination happens”

Since 2000, there have been six known incidents of unapproved genetically modified corn and rice entering the US food supply or exports. Common sense would seem to dictate that the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) would want to tighten its oversight of GM crops and force biotechnology companies to make sure their unapproved GMOs stay out of Americans’ corn flakes. This is exactly what the Government Accounting Office (GAO) called for.

2009-03-05 |

More US farmers planting non-GMO soybeans in 2009

For the first time since 1996, acres of Roundup Ready genetically modified soybeans could drop as more farmers decide to plant non-GMO. Low commodity soybean prices, attractive premiums, and rising prices for genetically modified soybean seed are leading American farmers to plant more acres of non-GMO soybeans this year. Representatives with soybean associations, universities, and grain buyers all say that demand for non-GMO soybeans is growing, leading to more non-GMO acres.

2009-03-04 |

Climate change and GE crop research in Brazil

Brazilian scientists and agronomists are rushing to deter the effects of climate change on the world’s biggest coffee producer and second-ranking soybean grower, a country crucial to the international food supply. Experts in tropical agriculture are developing genetically modified coffee, soy beans and other crops that can withstand higher temperatures in Brazil’s expanding northeastern desert, new pests and diseases and more flooding in low-lying areas.

2009-03-04 |

Ghana to undertake field trials on GM crops

Ghana will soon begin field trials with Genetically Modified crops, which, when successful, will help enhance agricultural modernization and productivity. [...] Professor Walter Alhassan, a Consultant for African Biotechnology and Biosafety Policy Platform, said this at this year’s press briefing in Accra on Thursday to highlight the current global status of commercialization of biotech crops and Genetically Modified crops. The briefing, which is done annually, is organised by International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA), a US registered not for profit NGO.

2009-03-04 |

Cuba eyes biotech corn for tropical climes

Cuba is developing genetically modified corn (maize) that can be used with strong herbicides and are resistant to the boundless appetite of the fall armyworm, a major threat to tropical nations’ corn crops, official media reported Saturday. Scientists at Havana’s Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering Center have planted three hectares of the crop in Yaguajay, in central Sancti Spiritus privince, hoping to develop seeds to boost output for human and animal consumption once they get a green light in terms of health, the newspaper Juventud Rebelde said.

2009-03-04 |

GM crops aid South African food security

South Africa’s adoption of genetically modified (GM) crops continues to expand at an impressive rate. According to Dr Kobus Laubscher, CEO of Grain SA, this is an important development for sustainable food production in South Africa. The challenge for agricultural production is to keep up with population growth and demand. ”We have to produce more food, and applying the technology means that we can increase production on fewer hectares of land available,” Laubscher said.

2009-03-04 |

Three more biotech crops to hit the Philippine market in 2012

”These are the things that we can expect in the field of biotechnology in the Philippines,” said Dr. Eufemio Rasco, a Cornell University-schooled plant breeder, [...] He said the domestic market would see the commercial production of a variety of Khak Nuan papaya, genetically modified (GM) to resist the common pest ringspot, as well as an eggplant variety modified to resist fruit and shoot borers, and the GM rice called Golden Rice.

2009-03-04 |

Bt brinjal can resist attack of FSB larvae, safe for consumption: study

A study conducted by the global pro-GMO lobby, ISAAA, has claimed that Bt brinjal can resist the attacks of the common enemy fruit shoot borer (FSB) larvae and also be safe for human consumption. [...] The ISAAA study lauded the regulatory system in India and hoped that India would be able to give to the world the first Bt brinjal.

2009-03-03 |

EU upholds Austria, Hungary right to ban GM crops

Green groups, along with Germany’s Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel, were unimpressed with the Commission’s fruitless attempts to force Austria and Hungary to end their GMO bans. ”I cannot imagine that a US government would be so engaged for a European company if its citizens were that much concerned, as the Commission is engaged for an American company,” Gabriel told a news conference.

2009-03-03 |

Green Revolution with a capital G is needed to feed the world

A seven point plan to reduce the risk of hunger and rising food insecurity in the 21st century is outlined in new report by the United Nations Environment Programme. Changing the ways in which food is produced, handled and disposed of across the globe- from farm to store and from fridge to landfill - can both feed the world’s rising population and help the environmental services that are the foundation of agricultural productivity in the first place.

2009-03-03 |

A new report issues a challenge to Western-led plans for a GE Revolution in Africa

A new report from the Oakland Institute, Voices from Africa: African Farmers & Environmentalists Speak Out Against a New Green Revolution in Africa, issues a direct challenge to Western-led plans for a genetically engineered revolution in African agriculture, particularly the recent misguided philanthropic efforts of the Gates Foundation’s Alliance for a New Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and presents African resistance and solutions rooted in first-hand knowledge of what Africans need. The report finds a lack of accountability, transparency, and stakeholder involvement in philanthropic efforts such as AGRA.

2009-03-03 |

Farmers will eventually win the biotech fight

Some day in the not too distant future, European farmers will be planting biotech crops. Some already are planting insect-protected corn, and many more want to plant it and other biotech crops, but their governments continue to kowtow to anti-technology groups. [...] The European Commission wants the ban lifted because no science supports it. Typically only five nations step up to support the science, but this time nine countries voted in support.

2009-03-03 |

Bill Gates to fund $47m anti-drought GM maize study to get Monsanto’s genes into African maize

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Howard G Buffett Foundation are to sponsor a five-country study on a drought-resistant maize variety to a tune of $47 million. [...] The Maize and Wheat Centre will conventionally develop, drought-tolerant high-yielding maize varieties that adapt to African conditions. It will also provide expertise in conventional breeding and testing for drought tolerance, while Monsanto will provide proprietary germplasm, advanced breeding tools expertise and drought tolerant transgenes.

2009-03-03 |

Kenyan biosafety law in place but government needs to guarantee safety

Genetically-modified foods have the potential to solve many of the Kenya’s hunger and malnutrition problems, and to help protect and preserve the environment by increasing yield and reducing reliance upon chemical pesticides and herbicides. [...] Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, KARI, launched the first sweet potato variety in the country that is genetically engineered to make it disease-resistant and is expected to increase yields by up to 60 per cent and does not need any pesticide.

2009-03-02 |

The largest wave of suicides in Indian history

Those who killed themselves were overwhelmingly cash crop farmers – growers of cotton, coffee, sugarcane, groundnut, pepper, vanilla. (Suicides are fewer among food crop farmers – that is, growers of rice, wheat, maize, pulses.) The brave new world philosophy mandated countless millions of Third World farmers forced to move from food crop cultivation to cash crop (the mantra of ”export-led growth”). For millions of subsistence farmers in India, this meant much higher cultivation costs, far greater loans, much higher debt, and being locked into the volatility of global commodity prices.

2009-03-02 |

Kurgan Regional Duma to maintain GE food ban for social organizations

Speaker of the Kurgan Regional Duma Marat Islamov held a working group meeting on February 17 devoted to GMO legislation. There is a regional law that prohibits social organizations to purchase food containing genetically modified ingredients for regional social establishments (kindergartens, schools, hospitals, orphanages, etc.).

2009-03-02 |

Pakistan may scrap Monsanto BT cottonseed deal

Pakistan may scrap the deal with Monsanto on BT cottonseed after signing the agreement with China, reliable sources told Business Recorder on Thursday. Recently, Pakistan has signed an agreement with China on BT cotton. Sources said that China itself introduced BT cotton seed in its country after signing a Letter of Intent (LoI) with Monsanto in 1996 but it developed its own Bt cottonseed after re-inventing it in Chinese laboratories.

2009-03-02 |

Indian scientists to develop hybrid cotton varieties at lower cost

Indian scientists plan to launch hybrid varieties of genetically modified cotton seeds at nearly one-third the price charged by most seed companies in the country, said a scientist on condition of anonymity. The hybrids will be developed from a genetically modified variety of cotton—Bt Bikaneri Narma, which has been developed by a consortium of research institutions and universities, including the Central Institute for Cotton Research, or CICR, Nagpur, and the University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, Karnataka.

2009-03-02 |

Dow Chemical considers to sell AgroSciences branch

Financially strapped Dow Chemical Co. acknowledges it may sell Indianapolis-based Dow AgroSciences LLC, the ag-chemicals-and-biotech firm that’s one of the biggest jewels in the city’s life sciences crown. Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris said on a Feb. 3 conference call with analysts that the Midland, Mich.-based company has teams working with investment banks to evaluate potential buyers for 12 major assets, including Dow AgroSciences.

2009-03-02 |

EU upholds Austria, Hungary right to ban GM crops

EU environment ministers gave a stinging rebuff to the European Commission on Monday and upheld the sovereign right of Austria and Hungary to ban growing of genetically modified (GM) maize, the EU presidency said. The Commission, the EU’s executive arm, had wanted the ministers to order both countries to lift the bans within 20 days. EU law provides for national GMO bans under certain circumstances if the government can justify the prohibition. It was the third time the Commission had tried to get Austria’s bans lifted and the second for Hungary.

2009-02-27 |

Indian Supreme Court to hear plea on GM crops’ moratorium

The Supreme Court is slated to hear next month a petition seeking moratorium on genetically modified (GM) crops as the petitioners have now come up with fresh evidence from some leading scientists with a view to strengthen their argument on the issue. In a supplementary rejoinder affidavit filed before the apex court last week, the petitioners namely Aruna Rodrigues, PV Satheesh and Rajiv Baruah submitted six letters from eminent scientists like Dave Schubert, Dr Michael Antoniou, Stuart Newman, Andrew Kimbrell, Bill Freese, Jack Heinemann and Lawrence Busch endorsing Pushpa M Bhargava’s regulatory guidelines as essential criteria for safety testing and risk assessment of GMOs.

2009-02-27 |

MAHYCO (India) hopeful of approval for Bt-Brinjal commercial release in 2010

Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company Limited is hopeful of getting approval for the commercial release of Bt Brinjal seeds from the GEAC by end of the next financial year. ”[...] We have also applied for commercial release of Bt Brinjal seeds with the GEAC and are hopeful that it would be approved by the end of 2009-10,” MAHYCO Joint Director (Research) Usha Barwale Zehr told reporters here.

2009-02-27 |

Syngenta not actively pursuing biotech wheat: CEO

Syngenta AG, the world’s largest agrochemical group, is not actively pursuing genetically modified wheat because of consumer resistance, Chief Executive Michael Mack told Reuters on Thursday. [...] He said biotech wheat was not receiving ”the same sort of resources and focus from the company as some of our other products.” But Mack was confident that genetically modified wheat -- like corn and soybeans -- would eventually win acceptance among consumers.

2009-02-27 |

NAWG: 76% of U.S. wheat growers approve biotech petition on GE wheat commercialization

More than three-quarters of wheat growers responding to a recent National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) survey approved a petition supporting the commercialization of biotechnology in wheat. [...] To date, the survey has enjoyed a 32 percent response rate, with approval rates similar across states and farm sizes. The survey was mailed in January and February to about 21,000 producers with more than 500 acres of wheat and 1,000 acres in total production.

2009-02-27 |

Syngenta: Biotech sugarbeet seed sales up

Syngenta’s decision last year to begin selling biotech sugarbeet seeds in the U.S. has been extremely profitable, Chief Executive Michael Mack said Thursday. [...] ”Farmers flocked to our germplasm and traits,” Mack said. Monsanto Co. developed glyphosate-resistant technology and licenses that technology to sugarbeet seed companies for use in their products.

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