Planet Diversity World Congress on the Future of Food and Agriculture

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13.03.2018 |

India slashes Monsanto's GMO seed royalty, says US firm 'free to leave' anytime

India has cut royalties that local seed companies pay to US agrochemical giant Monsanto for the second time in two years. The producer of genetically modified seeds has previously threatened to pull out of the country.

According to a government order released on Tuesday, the country’s farm ministry has decided to reduce royalties paid by Indian seed companies to Monsanto for its genetically modified (GM) cotton by 20.4 percent.

Two years ago, the company’s royalties were cut by more than 70 percent. The move triggered a long-running dispute between the Indian and US governments.

12.03.2018 |

Kan. farmers to benefit from $1.5B settlement on GMO corn seed

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Swiss agribusiness giant has agreed to a $1.5 billion settlement in a lawsuit over genetically modified corn seed variety.

Officials for Syngenta and attorneys for thousands of farmers, ethanol plants and other grain handlers announced the settlement Monday of a class action lawsuit.

The lawsuits were filed after Syngenta introduced its Viptera seed strain to the U.S. market before it was approved by China for imports. Attorneys for the plaintiffs argued that Syngenta’s decision cost U.S. corn producers and handlers access to the Chinese corn market for years.

09.03.2018 |

Illegal GM Soybean: Farmers’ body demands CBI probe into GEAC inaction  

The biosafety regulatory body denies receiving any complain about illegal cultivation of GM Soybean in some parts of Gujarat

After inaction over four months on complaint of growing illegal genetically modified (GM) soybean in Gujarat, farmer organisation, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) demands CBI probe against biosafety regulatory body Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) along with a case of treason against officials. It also demanded ban on Glyphosate—herbicide sprayed on GM crops. BKS claims that it is carcinogenic.

Meanwhile, GEAC has denied receiving any complaint by farmers or civil society body. “We have not received any complain regarding growing and testing report of HT (Herbicide Tolerant) soya in Gujarat,” says Sujata Arora, adviser on biosafety to Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) to Down To Earth.

The GM crops are not considered safe to grow because of gene manipulation. The inaction of GEAC, which is responsible for regulating introduction or growth of GM crops in country, shows how this regulatory body is in shambles.

09.03.2018 |

EPA wants public comments on GM bugs

If you have something to say about the possible release of genetically modified mosquitoes in the Florida Keys or elsewhere, now’s the time to do it.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday opened the month-long public comment period on the possible release of GM mosquitoes by British biotech company Oxitec, which submitted an application with the EPA in December. The EPA now has until July to make a decision on whether it will issue an experimental-use permit for a trial in the Keys.

Oxitec wants to release its male mosquitoes that are reared with a self-limiting gene. So when the males, which don’t bite, are released into the wild to mate with wild females, the gene is passed on and the offspring never survive to adulthood, according to product development manager Dr. Derric Nimmo.

08.03.2018 |

GMO corn, grains not approved in China

China has not approved commercial production of genetically modified corn or any other GMO grain, the Ministry of Agriculture said on Wednesday.

Currently only GMO cotton and papaya are allowed to grow on a commercial scale in China, Pan Xianzheng, ministry spokesman, said at a news conference on the sidelines of the ongoing two sessions. Agricultural authorities in China have been strictly adhering to laws and regulations over evaluations and management of genetically modified products to ensure their safety, he said.

08.03.2018 |

Concerns Over a Monsanto - Bayer Merger

Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, has until 5th April to reach a final decision as to whether or not to approve the takeover of Monsanto by Bayer. If the company wins conditional antitrust approval for its $62.5 billion bid, the merger would create a company with a share of more than a quarter of the world’s seed and pesticides market.

The consideration of the merger has already been a lengthy process. Bayer has moved to resolve some of Vestager’s main concerns after she opened an in-depth probe into the deal in August. To placate opposition voices, the corporations have divested some key assets (such as Bayer’s LibertyLink) to reduce the appearance of monopolistic market control but the deal may be permanently blocked unless Bayer makes more significant concessions.

It is generally assumed that if approved, the merger would create a risky consolidation of corporate power that could make life more difficult for farmers using pesticides and manufactured fertilisers. These mergers could threaten food sovereignty around the world by limiting the ability of farmers to make independent choices for themselves, and lock them into damaging and detrimental contracts. It is certainly essential that EU regulators properly investigate before it’s too late.

06.03.2018 |

Natural Soybean and Grain Alliance developing non-GMO opportunities for Arkansas farmers

A new organization aims to help Arkansas farmer realize opportunities in non-GMO food and agriculture markets. The Natural Soybean and Grain Alliance (NSGA) was established in 2015 after co-founders Kelly Cartwright and Lanny Ashlock helped develop the edamame food soybean industry in Arkansas.

“We’re trying to develop markets for non-GMO soybeans,” says Cartwright, NSGA’s executive director.

NSGA worked with the University of Arkansas’s soybean breeding program and begin licensing non-GMO, value-added soybean seed varieties to sell to the state’s farmers. The soybean varieties include high-protein food- and feed-grade varieties and a high yielding commodity grade variety called DrewSoy 5.0. The soybean is insect and disease resistant and has performed well in university trials in Arkansas, Mississippi, and Missouri.

NSGA’s goal with the three non-GMO soybean varieties is to “add value to the bottom lines of producers,” says Cartwright.

Arkansas is one of the leading state producers of non-GMO soybeans in the U.S. Five to 10 percent of Arkansas’s soybeans are non-GMO, there is significant production of natto and edamame soybeans, and the University of Arkansas is well-known for its non-GMO soybean breeding program.

06.03.2018 |

Monsanto concealed effects of toxic chemical for decades, Ohio AG alleges

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine sued agricultural giant Monsanto on Monday, alleging the company concealed dangers posed by a toxic chemical compound it manufactured for nearly a half century.

In the suit, filed in the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court in Cincinnati, prosecutors argued that the company should pay for the clean-up of what it says are dozens of rivers, lakes and other water bodies contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs.

06.03.2018 |

Research showing organic techniques restore soil carbon could expand the seal’s appeal

New research showing organic farming more effectively restores soil carbon and reduces the cause of climate change compared to conventional techniques could sway more shoppers to buy organic – especially as conscious consumerism continues to rise.

05.03.2018 |

Expert witnesses to face off in Roundup cancer hearing

Both sides of Roundup cancer lawsuits present experts at hearing on March 5

A Daubert Hearing for the federal Monsanto Roundup litigation is scheduled to begin on Monday, March 5, 2018 at US District Court, Northern District of California in San Francisco. More than 365 Roundup cancer lawsuits against Monsanto have been combined in a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL - In re Roundup Products Liability Litigation - Case Number: 3:16-md-02741-VC) before US District Judge Vince Chhabria. The hearing will begin at 10:00 AM on Monday in Courtroom 8, 19th Floor and will continue at various start times throughout the rest of the week.

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