This week in ag biotech… the fight for GM crops in Europe and enhanced rice that leads to better yields
Interesting ag biotech news from around the world this week includes the promotion of biotech crops by a farmer in Italy and improvements in Asian rice that could result in significant yield increases.
Italian farmer Giorgio Fidenato is determined to promote the benefits of biotech crops, going so far as to plant GM corn on his farm, despite Italy’s moratorium on genetically modified seeds that was enacted in March. “Our biggest goal is to show consumers that it is safe to eat,” he says, in an Associated Press article.
Scientists at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) report signs of progress in their efforts to enhance rice’s photosynthetic efficiency to boost yields. According to the IRIN News story, scientists believe that if the efforts are successful, global yields could rise by as much as 50 percent, avoiding potential rice shortages, or even future famines.
EC decision allows “politics to trump science”
A blog post that appeared in the Guardian states that the decision by the European Commission giving member states the power to ban genetically modified crops undermines the EC’s own scientific authorization system. They write that the EC “refused to back the overwhelming scientific evidence and has handed an own-goal to those who would ban GM crops without any research into their potential benefits, or indeed problems.”