As the latest indication of increasing global support for science-based agricultural solutions, a landmark declaration by governments from 24 African countries officially endorsed the use of biotechnology to help Africa address food security and poverty.
This year, policymakers and scientists from several African countries, including Ghana and Kenya, have made strides in agricultural biotechnology through local research and hunger-fighting initiatives. However, the significant endorsement made through a joint statement signed by all delegates at the 2nd Annual Dialogue of Ministers of Agriculture, Science and Technology was one of the strongest demonstrations to date of broad support across Africa.
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The White House praised biotechnology for its contributions to the national economy Thursday and pledged to continue the regulatory reform that it said would help bring more products to market.
“Expected benefits of this effort include reduced government costs, improved relationships with foreign trade partners, and new market opportunities for U.S. products abroad, among many others,” the White House said in a National Bioeconomy Blueprint released by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).
Biotechnology has already had a huge positive impact, the document said. READ MORE »
Today’s biotechnology is simply a better and more efficient version of the plant breeding that humans have conducted for centuries, according to agricultural expert Dr. Robert Thompson of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.
“During the twentieth century, we made huge genetic progress increasing productivity of plants in increasing their tolerance to adverse conditions,” Thompson said in an interview with Green State TV. But we’ve gone about as far as we can go with classical plant breeding,” which he said is simply “crossing two species to bring a trait from one species to another.”
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A Vermont bill requiring labeling of foods with ingredients derived from biotech crops would hurt farmers and confuse consumers in Vermont and beyond, according to North Dakota State Senator Terry Wanzek, writing in a Vermont news website.
“Biotechnology is an accepted tool of conventional agriculture,” wrote Wanzek, himself a farmer. “Around the world, farmers have grown more than 3 billion acres of GM crops-that is, plants bred to have a natural resistance to insects and weeds, resulting in a bountiful and sustainable food ingredient.” READ MORE »
Biotech sweet corn is safe, agriculture and biotechnology experts Dr. Bruce Chassy, Dr. Wayne Parrott and Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam said in response to questions raised recently in The Huffington Post.
“There is an abundance of scientific evidence and published research, as well as more than 15 years of experience of GE crops, that provide strong evidence of their safety,” said Dr. Chassy, professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in an interview with Best Food Facts. “There is no credible scientific evidence that they cause allergies or that they would have any long-term health effects.” READ MORE »