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14.12.2017 |

Human exposure to glyphosate increased 500 percent since GM crop introduction in the US

Glyphosate is a key ingredient in the herbicide, Roundup. Use of this herbicide has increased approximately 15-fold since 1994 when GM Roundup Ready (RR) glyphosate-tolerant crops were introduced. Used mainly on RR soy and corn, glyphosate is also sprayed on a substantial portion of wheat and oats grown in the US. In July 2017, glyphosate was listed by California as a carcinogen, following the WHO cancer research agency’s classification as glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic” to humans.

A study by the University of California San Diego School of Medicine (report published in the journal JAMA) compared urine excretion levels of glyphosate and aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) in 100 people living in a Southern California community who provided samples during five clinic visits that took place over a 23-year timespan between 1993 to 1996 and 2014 to 2016, starting just before the introduction of GM crops in the US.

The study found that prior to the introduction of GM foods, very few people had detectable levels of glyphosate, but as of 2016, 70% of the study cohort had detectable levels, an increase of approximately 500%. Among this 70%, the mean level of glyphosate increased from 0.203 μg/L in 1993-1996 to 0.449 μg/L in 2014-2016 while the mean level of AMPA went up from 0.168 μg/L in 1993-1996 to 0.401 μg/L in 2014-2016.

14.12.2017 |

Latest Monsanto GMO seeds raises worries of monopoly

Now some farmers say they are being forced to use the new GMO seeds to guard against dicamba.

Nathan Reed, a farmer in Marianna, Arkansas, whose crops were damaged by dicamba from fields more than two miles away, worries about his business.

"We use overwhelmingly non GMOs, not because we are anti-GMO but because we found some niche markets," Reed said at a public meeting last month. "We are in the business of making money, just like Monsanto is."

"It is going to put that ability at risk for us," he said.

Farming states Missouri, Minnesota and North Dakota have imposed restrictions on dicamba, though they permit farmers to use the herbicide one or two times at the start of the season.

12.12.2017 |

This Is How Badly Monsanto Wants Farmers to Spray Its Problematic Herbicide

Why is Monsanto offering such a sweet deal on its dicamba mix? It’s probably not what the company had in mind when it broke ground on a $975 million expansion of its dicamba plant in Luling, La., earlier this year.

The answer likely lies in the more than 3.6 million acres of non-dicamba-tolerant soybeans that the US Environmental Protection Agency reports were damaged by wayward dicamba applications during the 2017 growing season. In addition, the EPA notes, off-target dicamba hit a variety of fruit and vegetable crops, as well as residential gardens, trees, and shrubs.

12.12.2017 |

Native seeds are key to food security

For better agricultural performance, focus must be on inculcating better farming practices. Farmers must be encouraged to return to zero-budget farming, where they use their own desi seeds

In recent years, enlightened Indian farmers have begun to rethink the suitability of farming practices that involve injecting poison into the earth via fertilisers, insecticides and pesticides, and create problems of soil fertility, soil texture, soil preservation and erosion. There is a pervasive sentiment that unless the current system of intensive and uncontrolled use of chemical inputs is reversed, soil quality will worsen and our centuries-old agricultural biodiversity will be lost forever.

Chemical inputs have permeated our food-chain with deleterious impact on public health, which have not been adequately studied scientifically. But the cumulative loss due to growing expenditure on public health, insecticide resistance, crop-loss, bird-loss, pollution of ground water and pollinator decline runs into billions of dollars.

12.12.2017 |

Commission rejects demands of #StopGlyphosate citizens’ initiative

Press release - December 12, 2017

Brussels – The European Commission has issued its formal response to the #StopGlyphosate European Citizens Initiative (ECI).

It officially recognised the submission of more than one million signatures on 6 October. Today’s response is an answer to the ECI’s three demands for a ban of glyphosate, a reform of the EU pesticide approval process and mandatory EU targets to reduce pesticide use. The Commission proposed action that could fulfil one aspect of one of the three demands.

Reacting to the news, Greenpeace EU food policy director Franziska Achterberg said: “The Commission is trying to dress up its rejection of the #StopGlyphosate initiative with vague transparency proposals. Providing access to the data on toxic pesticides won’t make them any less dangerous. As long as the Commission leaves the testing of chemicals in the hands of the manufacturers, it will continue to lose the trust of citizens. We will continue to fight for meaningful measures to reduce pesticide use across the EU and for truly independent pesticide assessments.”

10.12.2017 |

Farmers’ Group Set To Crash Maize Price By 50 Per

The fight to end the importation of food from genetically modified organisms, GMOs and the importation of maize continues to gain momentum as Nigerian farmers have resolved to flood the market with maize and crashed its price of maize iby as much as 50 per cent in a few months time from now.

Speaking with our correspondent, the National Coordinator of Nigerians Farmers Group and Cooperative Society (NFGCS) Comrade Retson Tedheke said the farmers’ group is putting measures in place to ensure increase productivity of maize if the government continues to provide the necessary farm inputs to support the production of commodity in the country.

Comrade Tedekhe further disclosed that apart from the over two thousand hectares of maize the group is currently harvesting from its on-going dry season maize farming, there is clear projection of hitting five thousand hectares of maize in the next farming season.

09.12.2017 |

GM crop farmers may be held liable if they contaminate other properties

Western Australian growers of genetically modified crops may be held liable if they contaminate non-GM properties and produce in future.

An upper house standing committee parliamentary inquiry is examining compensation mechanisms for farmers who lose money because of contamination from genetically modified material.

Earlier this year, Greens MLC Diane Evers tabled a petition calling for farmer protection legislation to compensate any non-GM farmer who suffers a loss from GM contamination.

The petition was sparked by the Marsh versus Baxter case, where an organic farmer unsuccessfully sued his neighbour for GM canola contamination.

08.12.2017 |

Debate on Glyphosate Use Comes to a Head in Argentina

BUENOS AIRES, Dec 8 2017 (IPS) - In and around the city of Rosario, where most of Argentina’s soybean processing plants are concentrated, a local law banned the use of glyphosate, the most widely-used herbicide in Argentina. But two weeks later, producers managed to exert enough pressure to obtain a promise that the ban would be overturned.

This episode, which took place in November, reflects the strong economic interests at stake and the growing controversy surrounding the use of agrochemicals and their impact on people’s health and the environment.

“Agriculture in Argentine has undergone major changes in recent decades and consolidated its agroindustrial model, strongly based on soy, which displaced wheat and corn,” explained Emilio Satorre, professor and researcher at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) department of agronomy.

“The sown area climbed from 15 to 36 million hectares, 60 to 65 percent of which are covered with genetically modified (GM) soy, while the use of phytosanitary products increased threefold. This system generated great wealth for the country, but of course it produces greater risks,” he told IPS.

08.12.2017 |

How Monsanto’s GM cotton sowed trouble in Africa

When America’s biotech giant tried to export its know-how to small cotton farmers in Burkina Faso, there was a problem: The quality sank.

BOBO-DIOULASSO, Burkina Faso - In 2000, farmers in Burkina Faso, Africa’s top cotton grower, were desperate. Their cotton fetched top prices because its high-quality fibre lent a luxurious sheen to clothing and bedsheets. But pests – bollworms – were threatening the crop.

Even when you dropped the bollworm larvae into a bucket of poison, farmers said, they kept swimming.

08.12.2017 |

GM plants in bird feed found in non-GMO Switzerland

Authorities have identified the presence of genetically modified oilseed rape in bird feed sold in Switzerland. This could provide a pathway for the release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into the environment.

Authorities have contacted bird feed importers to ensure GM seeds do not find their way into Switzerland, where a moratorium against all such crops is in place until 2021.

An assessment of bird feed carried out by national agricultural research centre Agroscope has revealed that 24 of 30 samples tested contain genetically modified oilseed rape. Eleven of these showed evidence of multiple contamination, some with up to three varieties of transgenic oilseed rape that are authorised as animal feed in the European Union: GT73, RF3, MS8. The majority showed a contamination rate of less than 0.5%.

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