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2009-06-03 |

Argentina pressed to ban Monsanto’s glyphosate

Argentina’s government is coming under pressure to ban the chemical used in the world’s best-selling herbicide, which has helped turn the country into an important world food exporter in the past decade, after new research found that it might be harmful to human health. A group of environmental lawyers has petitioned the Supreme Court to impose a six-month ban on the sale and use of glyphosate, which is the basis for many herbicides, including the US agribusiness giant Monsanto’s Roundup product. A ban, if approved, would mean ”we couldn’t do agriculture in Argentina”, said Guillermo Cal, executive director of CASAFE, Argentina’s association of fertiliser companies.

2009-06-03 |

Hong Kong (China) enacts GMO bill

The Environmental Protection Department will gazette a bill tomorrow to protect biological diversity by controlling of the release of genetically-modified organisms into the environment, and their import and export. Enacting the Genetically Modified Organisms (Control of Release) Bill will enable the Government to implement the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety in Hong Kong for better protection of biological diversity.

2009-06-03 |

Towards a GM-free Europe? Austria resists GMOs

Austrian voters want the next European Parliament to fight against genetically modified crops. Only about 20% of Austrians plan to cast European ballots, yet they want their national GMO ban left alone. EU authorisations continue to sow doubt.

2009-06-03 |

Romanian Chamber of Deputies passes draft biosafety bill

The deputies passed the draft bill on the approval of the Ordinance 43/2007 on the deliberate introduction of the genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the environment and the market, by 182 votes, two cons and 12 abstentions on Tuesday. The law is aimed at the achievement of a functional system regarding the introduction of the GMOs to the market through clarifying the responsibilities incumbent on all the elements involved in the field as well as the existence of a strict registration of the organisms entering the market.

2009-06-03 |

Bhutanene farmers trained on using non-GE, open pollinated seeds

The production of open pollinated seed varieties by farmers have advantage of non dependence to the hybrid seeds and GMOs thereby cutting down the cost of production. The crops from open pollinated seed varieties are said to have higher and wider nutritional value. In Bhutan many farmers are resource poor and many are not in a position to access the seeds from the seed companies. Therefore it is apt that they are better trained and informed on suitable technologies of open pollinated seed production.

2009-06-03 |

Boulder County (USA) sugar-beet plan raises ”super weed” concerns

Boulder County may allow six farmers to grow genetically modified sugar beets on 960 acres of leased open space, a move that could cause plenty of environmental problems, including the rise of ”super weeds,” the head of an organic farming group said. Super weeds can withstand most herbicides and have shown up in areas where genetically enhanced crops are grown, warns Dave Georgis, founder and director of the Boulder-based Everybody Eats program.

2009-06-02 |

ISAAA enlightens Philippine media on Negros Occidental GMO ban

”Biotech scare no more”, say print and radio media practitioners from Visayas during the Media Workshop on Creating Public Awareness, Knowledge and Understanding of Biotech Crops, held at Sabin Resort Hotel, Ormoc City, on 12 May 2009. [...] During the workshop, Dr. Jose Bacusmo, president of the Visayas State University (VSU), stressed ”the need to forge partnership with the media as it is vital to communicate biotechnology to the public, especially to the Visayas region, which is presently in the hype of scare issues on biotechnology.”

2009-06-02 |

Farm groups from Canada, the USA and Australia counter call for GMO wheat

Farm and environment groups opposed to genetically modified wheat are countering a call from other farm organizations for biotech companies to commercially develop it. Fifteen groups in the top wheat-exporting countries of Canada, the U.S. and Australia released a joint statement of opposition to GMO wheat on Monday. It follows the May 14 call by GM wheat supporters in the three countries for synchronized production of GM wheat.

2009-06-02 |

EC accepts tough Polish GMO regulations

Polish farmers will have the right to block genetically modified foods, commonly known as GMOs, as Brussels has agreed to a proposal put forth by the Polish government after 8 years of conflict on the issue. One of Poland’s toughest negotiation points with the European Commission, before the 2007 elections, Civic Platform promised to make Poland a GMO-free zone, a promise supported by 66 percent of the population at the time.

2009-06-02 |

Mahyco fails to convince Indian media on GE crop safety aspects

The Mahyco (Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company Limited), propagators of the controversial Bt Cotton and Bt Brinjal seeds, could not convince the media on the safety aspects of their technology, at a press conference held here on Thursday. The company officials enumerated at least 25 different biosafety and food/feed safety studies on Bt Brinjal since 2002, but in a significant omission, they failed to mention that all of the studies were financed by Mahyco itself.

2009-06-02 |

Future of genetically modified foods bleak in India

With the new environment minister Jairam Ramesh disfavouring genetically modified (GM) foods such as a variety of brinjal and tomato, the future of such products seems to hang in balance. ”I am not gung ho on GM foods. Should we promote BT brinjal? Jury is still on and I am not sure. I am not great enthusiastic for GM foods,” the minister said.
”In fact, I would treat BT Cotton different from BT foods. But GM tea, GM coffee, GM rubber, yes, I am for them. Or for that matter, BT mustard is also important as I believe there is a role for GM crops, Ramesh said while outlining his priorities as he assumed charges of the ministry.

2009-06-02 |

Bacolod (Philippines) ordinance banning GMOs to stay

The ordinance banning the entry of genetically-modified organisms in the city will stay despite varied apprehensions but it will be implemented with consideration of all concerned sectors, the Bacolod Sangguniang Panlungsod Committee on Agriculture said yesterday. Councilor Alex Paglumotan, committee chairperson, said at a public hearing that there is no coming repeal of City Ordinance No. 485. Paglumotan, however, assured that all sectors, including livestock raisers, environmentalists, and organic farming advocates, will benefit from the implementation of the law.

2009-05-29 |

Ukrainian Cabinet introduces mandatory marking of products containing GMOs

The Cabinet of Ministers has introduced mandatory marking of products containing genetically modified organisms from July 1. This is stated in the Cabinet of Ministers resolution No. 468 dated May 13. [...] According to the procedures, food products containing more than 0.1% genetically modified organisms are subject to mandatory labeling.

2009-05-29 |

City of Rossland (Canada) says no to GE plants

On May 11, 2009, the City of Rossland took leadership on this controversial issue by passing a resolution to oppose the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The resolution, moved by Councillor Laurie Charlton and seconded by Jill Spearn, stated that Rossland opposes GMOs and will not purchase any for their own use.

2009-05-29 |

Greece extends ban on US biotech corn seeds

Greece extended its ban on a genetically modified strain of corn seed developed by U.S. biotech giant Monsanto Co. for another two years, the Agriculture Ministry said Wednesday. The ban on importing and cultivating MON810 has also been expanded to include 100 types of the seed - up from 70 last year, the ministry said in a statement.

2009-05-29 |

Change to Ecuador’s GM laws ’could allow suicide seeds’

Moves by Ecuador’s president to veto legislation covering genetically modified organisms could let controversial ’terminator’ seeds into the country, campaigning groups claim. [...] The interim Transitional Assembly approved a new law on food sovereignty earlier in the year (17 February). Article 26 of the law states that ”raw materials containing transgenic inputs may only be imported and processed, provided they meet the requirements of health and safety, and their reproductive capacity is disabled by the breaking of grains”.

2009-05-29 |

Roundup outlook dims for Monsanto

A flood of inexpensive Chinese-made herbicide and deep price cuts by its rivals are leading Monsanto to cut profit expectations for its best-selling Roundup weed killer.
The agriculture giant, which has made billions of dollars selling Roundup and crops resistant to its effects, said Tuesday the dip in gross profit from herbicide sales will be swifter and steeper than initially anticipated. ”Roundup is taking it on the chin because of faster than expected competition,” Mark Gulley, an analyst at Soleil Securities in New York. ”We’ve known renewed competition from China was coming. It’s clearly come a little faster than we thought.”

2009-05-29 |

Court denies Monsanto injunction on German MON810 ban

A German court on Thursday rejected a bid by Monsanto Co. to have a government ban of its genetically engineered MON810 corn suspended. [...] A court in Braunschweig rejected its petition for a suspension on May 4, and that decision was upheld Thursday by a higher state administrative court in the northern town of Lueneburg. The court found that there was no evidence German authorities had overstepped their powers.

2009-05-28 |

Oil is well for Maine (USA) farmers growing non-GE canola

This winter, Maine Natural Oils, a new agricultural enterprise in the heart of Maine’s traditional potato-growing region, built a mobile oil press at a warehouse in Houlton. The company squeezed 100 gallons of oil this month, and plans to press about 20 tons of seed into cooking oil this spring. [...] Their canola seeds have not been genetically modified and the company plans to label the oil as ”GMO-free.” It will begin showing up in Maine stores this year.

2009-05-28 |

Boulder County (USA) panels to consider GM sugar beet crops

Two Boulder County advisory panels on Thursday are to discuss the pros and cons of allowing farmers to grow genetically modified sugar beets on land they lease from the county. Last December, six of the county’s agricultural tenants wrote the Board of County Commissioners to implore Boulder County to let them plant Roundup Ready sugar beets on county open space. [...] Genetically modified crops have their critics, however, including Everybody Eats!, a Boulder-based organization that promotes local, sustainable and organic agriculture.

2009-05-28 |

eMerge Genetics (USA) launches ”non-GMO revolution”

With major seed companies phasing out non-GMO soybean seed in favor of genetically modified varieties, one company recently emerged to help fill the void for farmers who want to grow non-GMO. Schillinger Genetics, based in West Des Moines, Iowa, is focusing on developing and distributing high-quality, non-GMO food-grade soybean seed varieties under its recently introduced eMerge Genetics brand.

2009-05-28 |

Brazil to debut non-GE rust-resistant soy

Brazil is set to begin commercial planting of a soybean variety with a gene that makes it resistant to the devastating Asian rust fungus, which is beginning to develop tolerance to conventional fungicides. [...] The conventional commercial soybean variety, in which researchers have integrated a gene from a soybean strain from an international seed bank that shows resistance to rust fungus, has been under study for three years in Brazil.

2009-05-28 |

Weed resistance to glyphosate in genetically modified soybean cultivation in Argentina

In 2007, the historical records for soybean yield and price in Argentina were reached, to some extent due to the sharply escalating biofuels demand. Nevertheless, if more genetic-resistant weeds appear, the benefits derived from the model could be lost. Results highlight the socio-economic impacts and responses associated with invasive species affecting agro-biodiversity. They indicate that no preventive strategies are deployed against the invasion of johnsongrass. Instead, the reactive measures are based on ”gene-stacking” that allows the use of still more glyphosate or new combinations of herbicides, thus combining the pesticide treadmill with a novel ”transgenic treadmill”.

2009-05-28 |

New ’Responsible’ soy standards will destroy forests and livelihoods, warn 80+ organisations

A new initiative that will re-brand intensive GM soy and soy grown on deforested land as ”responsible” will cause deforestation and sneak GM crops into the food system, Friends of the Earth said today [...]. Predominantly made up of the businesses driving the soy expansion such as Monsanto and Cargill, the Round Table on Responsible Soy will meet tomorrow in Campinas, Brazil to agree new voluntary standards on its cultivation. Over 80 organisations from around the world have signed up to a letter of opposition to the proposal.

2009-05-27 |

African bishop at pro-GMO meeting unsure what to believe

The only reason I’m here is because I’m one of those [African bishops] who will attend the synod. They were looking for an English-speaking African bishop who could listen, and maybe express the concerns of the bishops on GMOs. I thought there would be other English-speaking people from Africa [at the study week], but I’m the only one.

2009-05-27 |

Vatican study endorses GMOs for food security, not seeking an ”idiotic consensus”

In what seemed largely a foregone conclusion, a May 15-19 study week on genetically modified organisms sponsored by the Pontifical Academy for Sciences ended with a strong endorsement of GMOs as ”praiseworthy for improving the lives of the poor,” and promising ”improved food safety and health benefits, better food security, and enhanced environmental performance in a sustainable manner.” [...] ”We didn’t invite a bunch of naysayers to the table, [...]” said Bruce Chassy, a food safety expert at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. ”This is not a ’balanced’ meeting, in the sense that you bring every point of view to the table and seek some kind of idiotic consensus,”

2009-05-27 |

CEDAC launches campaign against GM rice farming in Cambodia

THE Cambodian Centre for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC) has launched a campaign to discourage Cambodian farmers from growing genetically modified rice, which it described as less cost-effective in the long run. The Year of Rice Action (YORA) officially began May 20 and will last until next April. The campaign is to include workshops, to be held in all provinces and municipalities, promoting the use of domestic rice. CEDAC said it will also spread its message on radio ads.

2009-05-27 |

GM-free Europe: Lessons for Nigeria

Certainly this declaration has a lot of lessons for our federal and state governments, the federal and state legislators and, indeed, all Nigerians. At the moment, there are bills on biotechnology and genetic engineering applications to agriculture at the Senate and the House of Representatives which the USAID has been stampeding them to pass into law. The lessons of the declarations should be learnt by the president and legislators especially.

2009-05-27 |

Alarm raised as GMO foods hit market in Kenya

It is now official. Kenyans could be eating contaminated maize unfit even for animals. Furthermore, a big chunk of the grains are genetically modified organism (GMO) products. But so shrouded is the affair that Kenyans do not know just yet what they are in for. Two months after the controversial Kenya Biosafety Act 2009 was signed into law, it is emerging that the country was not ready for the big leap.

2009-05-27 |

Food crisis whets Eeat Africa’s appetite for GM crops

Worsening cereal production worldwide is swaying African countries to genetically modified crops. Research concluded last December shows that in developing countries — excluding Brazil, China and India — cereal production has fallen by 1.6 per cent. This has worsened the global food prices and posted a deeper shock to world economies. Many African countries are now switching from organic to GM crop production, which research says increases yields in a shorter period.

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