News

2018-10-02 |

Imported seeds fast replacing local varieties in Pakistan

KARACHI: Agriculture constitutes the largest sector of Pakistan’s economy and the majority of the population depends on it. It contributes about 24 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), accounts for half of the country’s employed labor force, and is the largest source of foreign exchange earnings. It feeds the whole rural and urban populations of Pakistan.

The country has a rich biodiversity and multinational companies have realized this. Thousands of varieties of seeds, medicinal plants and herbs have been developed over hundreds of years by farming communities, who were well-equipped with indigenous knowledge of the local environment, climate and conditions for agricultural production.

But the day is not far off when the entire seed business will be controlled by seed companies, leaving local farmers totally dependent on imported or multinationals’ seeds.

2018-10-01 |

Call to Action 2018: Our Bread, Our Freedom

Food systems are either sources of nourishment forging the foundations of human health and well-being or one of the most substantial health risk factors.

An entire colonization of the earth, agriculture and our bodies has taken place over a century. Food and agriculture systems upon which we all depend have increasingly become industrialized and globalized. Commercial compulsions of current global agricultural and food systems, compounded by high levels of economic inequality are making healthy diets unavailable or unaffordable to large sections of the population in every part of the world.

2018-09-27 |

New GMOs: the European Commission in no hurry to act

The judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union of July 25th does not particularly disturb the European Commission. In its view, it’s up to the Member states to implement the ruling and initiate exchanges on potential difficulties they face. A quite simple analysis but partly deficient. Explanations.

On July 2018 the 25th, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that only GMOs “obtained by means of techniques/methods of mutagenesis which have conventionally been used in a number of applications and have a long safety record” are excluded from the scope of directive 2001/18. The organisms obtained through the use of a new technique of genetic modification giving rise to one or several mutations must therefore be considered and regulated as GMOs. Has this ruling, which is immediately applicable, already been enforced?

Regulating new GMOs like transgenic ones
During the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed which took place on September 11th, the Member states and the European Commission discussed the ruling. Interviewed by Inf’OGM, the European Commission explained that it is “carefully analysing the ruling” and announced other talks would take place in October. But things went a bit further on September 11th. According to a EU source, the Commission told the Member states that it considers it has nothing particular to do for the moment: in the Commission’s opinion, it is now up to Member states to implement the court ruling at all levels and to be more specific on what they expect from the Commission.

2018-09-27 |

Bayer may stop selling Monsanto's new Bt cotton in India

Germany’s Bayer AG, which acquired US biotech firm Monsanto in June, recently said new Bt cotton seed technology cannot be introduced in India as it is no more profitable and financially viable because of royalty issues. The acquisition of Monsanto is over globally but is still in process in India.

Monsanto, which has been selling genetically modified (GM) cotton seeds in India through its joint venture Mahyco Monsanto Biotech that has sub-licensed Bt cotton seed technology to various domestic seed companies, is involved in legal battles with the Indian Government and Indian company Nuziveedu Seeds.

The company needs to be compensated for investment made in research and development (R&D) to come up with innovative products, Bob Reiter, global head of R&D, crop science division of Bayer, told a news agency.

2018-09-26 |

The man who beat Monsanto: 'They have to pay for not being honest'

A jury ruled the agrochemical company caused Dewayne Johnson’s cancer. He tells the Guardian he wants to use the victory to make a difference while he still can

Dewayne Johnson looks on after hearing the verdict in his case against Monsanto. A California jury ordered the company to pay $289m to the former school groundskeeper dying of cancer.

Dewayne Johnson tries not to think about dying.

Doctors have said the 46-year-old cancer patient could have months to live, but he doesn’t like to dwell on death. These days, he has an easy distraction – navigating the international attention on his life.

The father of three and former school groundskeeper has been learning to live with the gift and burden of being in the spotlight in the month since a California jury ruled that Monsanto caused his terminal cancer. The historic verdict against the agrochemical corporation, which included an award of $289m, has ignited widespread health concerns about the world’s most popular weedkiller and prompted regulatory debates across the globe.

Johnson, who never imagined he would be known as “dying man” in dozens of news headlines, is still processing the historic win.

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