Reuters: Mexico plans to approve GM corn for commercial planting
Reuters reports Mexico plans to approve permits for planting genetically modified (GM) corn by the end of the year. The article points out that GM crops should help make Mexico more competitive with the U.S., where genetically modified corn is widespread. Read more.
Biotech research in West Africa aims to reduce poverty
According to All Africa, the U.S. Department of State commissioned the Fulbright scholar and expert on biotechnology Dr. Hortense Dodo to visit a number of West African countries to speak to policymakers, farmers and members of the scientific community on the benefits of biotechnology for reducing poverty.
In the article, Cynthia Gregg at the U.S. Embassy in Gambia says she is excited to have Dr. Dodo in Gambia because biotech crops “can play an important role through increasing productivity while decreasing costs of production by a reduced need for inputs and plowing.” Read more.
In a GreenBiz article, business and sustainability writer Marc Gunther writes that he supports agricultural biotechnology solutions to help feed the planet. He speaks with Steve Savage, an agricultural scientist with a PhD in plant science from the University of California at Davis, who draws from USDA data to point out that organic agriculture alone doesn’t produce enough food to ensure global food security since only a small percentage of total cropland is organic.
“I never have any problem with anybody farming, including organic farming,” Mr. Savage says, “just as long as people aren’t under the illusion that they’re saving the planet that way.” He adds, “A less than 1 percent solution after 30 years isn’t a big solution, and we do need a big solution.” Read more.
Foreign Policy: Consumers should support biotech research to fight poverty
Foreign Policy magazine calls on consumers to be “cosmovores”-cosmopolitan grocery shoppers-by embracing biotech research that can help farmers in low-income countries to increase the value of their crops and produce more on less land. The article says genetically modified (GM) crops have contributed to “significant, positive impacts on environmental and financial outcomes.” Read more.
Reuters: EU court calls French ban on GM maize illegal
According to Reuters, Europe’s highest court ruled that France illegally imposed a ban on genetically modified (GM) maize. The European Court of Justice said France did not have the authority to impose a ban on the growing of insect-resistant maize without demonstrating health or environmental risks. EU commissioned research has found no evidence of harm from GM crops. Read more.
Australian research on GM rice aims to prevent children with iron deficiency in developing countries
Tune in to ABC Radio National to find out about an Australian research team that has genetically modified (GM) rice to improve its iron content by 400%. The report features Dr. Alex Johnson, program leader at the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics, who says genetically modified rice will help developing countries suffering from iron deficiency, which can lead to anemia. Click here for a link to the broadcast.
WSJ op-ed: Nestle’s Chairman says biotech is essential for global food security
In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, chairman of Nestlé Peter Brabeck-Letmathe says Europe’s refusal to use biotechnology “has halted the multi-decade rise in agricultural productivity that has allowed us, so far, to feed more mouths than many people believed was possible.” Read more.
Scientists point out EPA proposed regulatory burdens are obstacle to innovation
The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB Journal) published an article by Dr. Nina Fedoroff and Dr. Bruce Chassy which says the EPA’s proposal to expand regulatory burdens would create obstacles to scientific innovation.
“A further increase in the regulatory burden would impose steep barriers to scientific innovation and product development across all sectors of our economy and would not only fail to enhance safety, but would be likely to prolong reliance on less safe and obsolete practices.” Read more.
Prominent food industry expert condemns attacks on GM papayas in Hawaii
Perishable Pundit, an online publication by the prominent food industry author and news commentator Jim Prevor, calls the devastation caused by attacks on papayas in Hawaii “unacceptable.” His article features an interview with Delan Perry from the Hawaii Papaya Association, who points out the need for GM papaya varieties to fight plant disease. Read more.
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack
According to Western Farm Press, the USDA released data showing record agricultural exports and strong farmer income this year. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said, “Strong exports have enabled agriculture to remain one of only a few sectors of the U.S. economy to enjoy a trade surplus. This year’s surplus is projected at $42.5 billion-a record-and next year should be $32 billion, the third-highest.” Read more.
US farmers worldwide recognize benefits of ag biotech
The American Council on Science and Health said US farmers around the world have adopted biotech and it has revolutionized farming. The article also points out scientific research supporting the safety and nutrition benefits of biotech crops. Read more.
Iowa family farmer calls for reduced regulatory barriers to biotech crops
Tim Burrack, a corn and soybean family farmer in Iowa and board member of Truth about Trade & Technology, supports Dr. Nina Fedoroff’s op-ed in the New York Times about removing costly regulatory burdens for the approval of biotech crops. In an AgWeb blog he says, “All farmers should thank Fedoroff for her advocacy-and demand that we take back our regulatory system before it deprives us of the tools we use to produce the food that the world needs.” Read more.