Scientist researching drought resistant wheat
According to NPR, scientists are researching ways to engineer wheat so it can thrive even when water is scarce. A drought impacting Russia this summer pushed wheat prices to their highest in years, underscoring the importance for a variety of wheat that can survive in droughts. In addition to wheat, scientists and researchers have already engineered drought-tolerant maize, and it could be sold commercially in just two years based on the regulatory process. Listen here.
Countries in Africa and Asia have much to gain economically from adopting GM crops
Biofortified posted a piece about a paper by Kym Anderson in New Biotechnology that shows that the potential economic benefits for those countries in Africa and Asia willing to adopt genetically modified (GM) crop varieties can be great. However, the countries would not gain economically under this model if they ban imports of GM crops. Read more.
Argentine Farmer writes that biotechnology is about human rights and eradicating hunger
Global Farmer-to-Farmer Roundtable participant Roberto Peiretti penned a piece about what he labels as “gene-ocide,” negatively portraying genetically modified crops without sound science. Roberto has always supported environmentally responsible agriculture and has committed to no-till agriculture for many years. He writes, “Biotechnology and its synergy with no-till agriculture have the potential to improve nutrition and feed a growing world by boosting agricultural productivity and profitability in a sustainable fashion. This is a synergy we need if we are going to succeed in doubling global agricultural production during the next thirty to fifty years.” Read more.
Test your biotech knowledge!
This week, we’re asking our readers to take CBI’s quiz to see how much you know about ag biotech and to provide feedback on the information you want to see from CBI. All quiz-takers will be eligible to win a copy of the acclaimed book Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics and the Future of Food! Now, for other exciting ag biotech news…
Biotechnology is essential to African food security
At a roundtable discussion, Ghanaian biosafety and biotechnology expert Prof. Walter Alhassan stressed that agricultural biotechnology is crucial to his country dealing effectively with food security issues and the impact of a changing and less predictable climate. He added that “after 14 years of commercial use of genetic modification (GM) crops, no scientifically proved risk has been confirmed due to GM application.” Ghana’s National Biosafety Committee will soon be considering applications to permit field trials of protein-enhanced sweet potatoes and insect protected cowpea in the country. Learn more.
Recent anti-biotech ruling on GM beet sugar harms farmers and consumers
A recent federal district court ruling that limits the application of genetically modified beet sugar will have a negative impact on the price and availability of sugar in America, according to a Forbes article. Genetically modified beet sugar accounts for 95 percent of all sugar grown in the United States. The court ruling, which requires a more intensive environmental impact study by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (the agency that already approved the GM beets in 2005) will result in uncertainty in the sugar marketplace, hurting farmers and consumers. Learn more.
We are happy to announce a new blog series - the Weekly News Round-Up! Each week, we’ll share our favorite biotech and agriculture stories from the week.
The New York Times reports on why farmers need disease-resistant cassava
This week, Donald McNeil wrote a piece for The New York Times that reported on the virus that is ravaging cassava crops (known elsewhere as manioc, tapioca and yuca) throughout Africa. This is especially alarming because many Africans are dependent on this crop and this could lead to famine and economic disaster. Scientists and agricultural experts are currently researching the virus and hoping to develop strands of cassava that can withstand the disease. Case studies such as this show why agricultural biotechnology is crucial; a disease-resistant cassava crop would not just help farmers economically, it would save lives. READ MORE »