Planet Diversity World Congress on the Future of Food and Agriculture

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02.04.2009 |

EU Commission publishes second gmo co-existence report

On 2 April 2009, the Commission issued a second report on coexistence, outlining the activities of national coexistence measures in the 27 member states. 15 Members States have adopted legislation on coexistence, 11 more than in 2006 when the first coexistence report was published. Another 3 Member States have notified draft legislation to the Commission. The Commission does not intend to prepare harmonised legislation at EU level, but will prepare crop specific guidelines as well as thresholds for seed contamination.

01.04.2009 |

Monsanto planting cyber seeds in the blogosphere

For years, environmental and food activists have made good use of YouTube video and Facebook to skewer Monsanto in the blogosphere. Now, the biotech giant is turning the tables. The company’s blog, Monsanto According to Monsanto, made its debut Feb. 10, and it is the company’s latest tool to engage critics on hot-button issues such as food labeling. The title spoofs a documentary by French journalist Marie-Monique Robin that has been viewed more than 47,000 times on YouTube.

24.03.2009 |

Luxembourg to become fifth EU country to ban Monsanto GM maize

Luxembourg is expected to join Austria, France, Greece and Hungary in banning the use and sale of a genetically modified (GM) maize developed by US chemical company Monsanto. ”Last year, EU ministers called for a re-think in the way GM crops are assessed in Europe. Faced with the Commission’s reticence to take these concerns on board, EU countries have no other choice but to protect their citizens and their environment with national bans,” said Marco Contiero, Greenpeace EU GMO policy director.

23.03.2009 |

Non-GE soybean seed demand may rise in Arkansas (USA)

Soybean farmers in Arkansas and other states may be planting more conventional (non-transgenic) varieties in 2009, says Pengyin Chen, who directs the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s soybean breeding program. Chen and Jeremy Ross, the division’s extension soybean specialist, say they have had many more calls than in previous years about conventional varieties.

21.03.2009 |

German poultry producer Stolle converts to certified GE-free feed

9,000 to 10,000 broiler chickens per hour are converted into food products by Gudensberg-based producer Stolle, that is 480,000 broilers per week. From the beginning of May they will be fed without genetic engineering – guaranteed – with certification. [...] One of the group’s feed mills already uses exclusively grain and soy that are planted GM-free.

20.03.2009 |

Cradle of maize rocked by transgenics

Mexico has lifted the ban on experimental cultivation of transgenic maize imposed in 1999 in this country where the crop was first domesticated and shaped human culture. Biotech giants have put forward two dozen projects for approval and have announced investments of 382 million dollars up to 2012. The green light given by the government of conservative President Felipe Calderón to the trials, by means of an executive decree which came into force early this month, has provoked the indignation of activists and campesinos (small farmers) opposed to genetically modified (GM) maize.

18.03.2009 |

Monsanto submits drought-tolerant corn to USDA

St. Louis, Mo.-based Monsanto, a global leader in development of genetically modified crops, said it applied for approval of its new corn with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and various Canadian agencies. The company in December made a regulatory submission to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Monsanto is collaborating with Germany’s BASF in development of the drought-tolerant corn. The companies hope to launch the product in 2012.

17.03.2009 |

Monsanto and WTO are blamed for promoting gene-modified production into Azerbeijan

The Azerbaijan Free Consumers’ Union (AFCU) has found culprits of the fact the law on ecologically clean farming includes permission on turnover of products with content of gene-modified organisms (GMOs). Union’s chairman Eyub Huseynov says there is information that the permission was included into the law under strong pressure of the World Trade Organization (WTO) that acted in the interests of Monsanto Corporation (US), the global leader developing GMOs.

16.03.2009 |

Biggest Brazil soy state loses taste for GE soy seed

Farmers in Brazil’s Mato Grosso, the country’s top soy state, are shunning once-heralded, genetically modified soy varieties in favor of conventional seeds after the hi-tech type showed poor yields. ”We’re seeing less and less planting of GMO soy around here. It doesn’t give consistent performance,” said Jeferson Bif, who grows soy and corn on a large 1,800 hectare farm in Ipiranga do Norte, near the key Mato Grosso soy town of Sorriso.

03.03.2009 |

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.

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