Planet Diversity World Congress on the Future of Food and Agriculture

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15.12.2008 |

USDA reporting positive GE crop developments in EU countries

Italy’s has approved the resumption of biotech field trials after a hiatus of 10 years. Protocols for nine crops were approved but leave implementing regulations up to the regions—many of which have declared themselves to be GMO free. While the approval of these protocols may be a positive step, most Italian scientists remain skeptical about their actual significance. In their view, too many constraints exist to make field tests practical.

12.12.2008 |

EU prepares approval for cultivation of GM maize varieties bt11 and 1507

The first approval of GM crops for cultivation within the European Union since ten years may be proposed soon by the EU Commission. Under pressure of another "no risk" opinion of the Food Safety Authority EFSA and a court case from GM maize giant Pioneer Commissioner Stavros Dimas may be forced to proposing an approval which he had resented for years, EU and industry officials say. But so far, the paperwork is being kept well under firm instructions not to release it anywhere near the public domain.

10.12.2008 |

EU's top court fines France for incomplete GMO law

The European Union's highest court fined France 10 million euros ($12.9 million) on Tuesday for failing to update the country's laws on genetically modified (GM) crops and foods.

10.12.2008 |

Different views on the GMO decision of the EU Council

Long-term environmental risk assessment of GMOs should be improved and member states allowed to establish GMO-free zones, EU ministers agreed last week. On 4 December, the bloc’s environment ministers a six-month process launched by the French EU Presidency aimed at overcoming the Council’s inability to take authorisation decisions on new GM products for cultivation in the EU. It is not yet clear whether the conclusions of the exercise will actually help to break the current deadlock.

09.12.2008 |

European starch industry demands swift approval of GE potatoes

The leading European potato starch companies AVEBE, Emsland-Stärke, and Lyckeby Industrial demand the use of innovative technologies in agriculture. According to the starch producers, genetically optimized starch potatoes like Amflora from BASF Plant Science are good examples for such innovations. Their request has been prompted by the recent EU Commission decision from November 20, 2008 to cut the subsidies for the production of starch potatoes

08.12.2008 |

Neue gentechnikfreie Region Klützer Winkel

Die Gemeinschaft der gentechnikfrei wirtschaftenden Bauern in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern wächst. Im Klützer Winkel in Nordwestmecklenburg wurde jetzt die zwölfte gentechnikfreie Region im Land gegründet, wie die Umweltorganisation BUND mitteilte. Dazu hätten sich neun Landwirte mit rund 5870 Hektar Land zusammengeschlossen. Ein Teil wirtschafte konventionell, ein Teil ökologisch. Insgesamt umfassen die zwölf gentechnikfreien Regionen im Land jetzt mehr als 14 500 Hektar Fläche, sagte Burkhard Roloff, der Koordinator im BUND.

17.11.2008 |

Tomatoes with added Viagra: how to get consumers to love GM crops

Should our response to these challenges include genetically modified (GM) crops? Most agricultural scientists say yes. So far the European consumer has said no. For the scientist, GM is an extension of the past 10,000 years of genetic modification by agricultural selection. It is precision engineering as opposed to the blunderbuss of conventional breeding, and has the potential to transform agriculture in regions left out of the green revolution, such as sub-Saharan Africa, by creating crops that are more nutritious, resistant to disease or drought, and can grow without chemical fertilisers. In other words GM could help to produce more and better food with less environmental damage.

13.11.2008 |

Gentechnisch veränderter Weizen darf angebaut werden

Das Bundesverwaltungsgericht hat dem dreijährigen Feldversuch mit gentechnisch verändertem Weizen in Pully VD grünes Licht gegeben. Laut dem Urteil sind die Sicherheitsanforderungen erfüllt. Der Entscheid kann beim Bundesgericht angefochten werden. Die ETH und die Universität Zürich wollen in Pully versuchsweise gentechnisch veränderten Weizen anbauen, der gegen Pilzerkrankungen resistent sein soll. Das Bundesamt für Umwelt (BAFU) erteilte 2007 die Bewilligung für drei Versuchsjahre. Mehrere Anwohner gelangten dagegen ans Bundesverwaltungsgericht. Es hat ihre Beschwerde nun abgewiesen. Die Beschwerdeführer hatten argumentiert, dass Freisetzungsversuche mit gentechnisch veränderten Organismen unbekannte Gefahren mit sich bringen würden. Das Gericht räumt ein, dass nicht alle Auswirkungen bekannt sind. Der Gesetzgeber habe Versuche dennoch nicht ausschliessen wollen.

11.11.2008 |

Newspaper brings to light abuses against poor farmers in Argentina

According to official statistics, between 2002 and 2006, more than 500,000 hectares were deforested to make way for genetically modified soybeans, Argentina’s main export crop. The advance of monoculture, besides destroying the area’s natural biodiversity, is also undermining the very survival of campesinos who have lived and farmed in the region for generations.

11.11.2008 |

Indian campaign against GM crops gaining momentum

The distinction between a vegetarian and a non-vegetarian might soon get blurred with the introduction of genetically modified crops. Now, imagine tomatoes, which are genetically modified with the gene of a pig. This has sparked a global campaign against genetically modified (GM) foods. Uttar Pradesh, too, has been engulfed in the campaign — ”I am no lab rat”.

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