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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.

02.03.2009 |

EU upholds Austria, Hungary right to ban GM crops

EU environment ministers gave a stinging rebuff to the European Commission on Monday and upheld the sovereign right of Austria and Hungary to ban growing of genetically modified (GM) maize, the EU presidency said. The Commission, the EU’s executive arm, had wanted the ministers to order both countries to lift the bans within 20 days. EU law provides for national GMO bans under certain circumstances if the government can justify the prohibition. It was the third time the Commission had tried to get Austria’s bans lifted and the second for Hungary.

26.02.2009 |

Pressure mounts on national GM bans in the EU

This will be the second time Hungary’s GM ban has gone to the vote. In February 2007, national ministers reached a qualified majority against the European Commission’s decision to force Hungary to repeal its ban. But Europe’s hostility to biotechnology risks a further trade conflict with the US, which could even target anti-GM countries with retaliatory trade action. Sharon Bomer from BIO, a US association of bio-industries, said that the US had ”lost” its corn market in the EU because of the bans.

24.02.2009 |

Luxembourg, European Capital, declared ”GMO-free City”

The city of Luxembourg, a European capital, has declared itself a ”GMO-free city” along with two thirds of the local city communes, thereby refusing the release of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) on its lands and in its funded food catering services. The GM-free Luxembourg intitative is a coalition of 25 civil society organisations which founded and launched the ”GM-free Luxembourg” campaign in the summer of 2006. Since then, two thirds of the Communes [local authorities] declared themselves ”GM-free Communes”.

23.02.2009 |

EU prepares for battle over growing GM maize crops

European Union biotech experts will discuss next week whether to allow more cultivation of genetically modified crops but little progress is expected to break years of EU deadlock on biotechnology. Two GM maize types are to be considered at the Wednesday meeting. If the experts fail to agree, which officials and diplomats say is the most likely outcome, both applications will be escalated to EU ministers for a decision.

23.02.2009 |

German Minister for Environment supports calls for GMO maize ban

Germany should reconsider its policy of permitting farmers to grow maize with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and consider banning biotech crops, Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Friday. Gabriel is the second minister to raise a change of GMO policy this week, following Farm Minister Ilse Aigner’s statement she may review permission to grow MON 810 GMO maize, developed by U.S. biotech group Monsanto Co..

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