GMO-free news from Albania

2014-08-29 |

Mexico: Monsanto Loses GMO Permit as Judge Sides With The Bees

A number of countries around the world have now completely banned GM food and the pesticides that go with them, or have severe restrictions against them. This comes after the world has experienced a massive resistance against Monsanto and other biotech giants that manufacture GMOs and pesticides.

2014-08-29 |

USA: Colorado GMO-labeling initiative likely to make fall election ballot

“Right to Know Colorado GMO” has collected approximately 167,995 signatures in favor of its ballot initiative requiring manufacturers to disclose which foods contain genetically modified organisms (“GMOs”). The number of signatures obtained is more than enough to present the initiative to the Colorado Secretary of State. Despite this success, the Colorado initiative must still surmount several obstacles.

2014-08-29 |

USA: Refuges to discontinue GMO crops by 2016

By 2016, national wildlife refuges across the country will discontinue their use of genetically modified crops and certain pesticides.

2014-08-29 |

On two views of GMOs: Michael Specter vs. Vandana Shiva and Gary Hirshberg

Michael Specter’s article “Seeds of Doubt” in the current issue of The New Yorker is a critical profile of India’s Vandana Shiva and her active opposition to genetically modified foods.

2014-08-29 |

ISAAA Biotech Crops Adoption Report Launched in Pakistan

The launching ceremony of ISAAA report on global status of GM crops (ISAAA Brief 46) was organized by the Pakistan Biotechnology Information Center (PABIC) in collaboration with PABIC Lahore chapter at Forman Christian College on August 19, 2014. Renowned biotechnologists of Pakistan, Dr. Kauser Abdullah Malik and Dr. Tayyab Hussain, delivered talks at the event and said that that agriculture is the backbone of national economy.

2014-08-29 |

Glyphosate Herbicide Sales Boom Powers Global Biotech Industry

According to a new market report published by Transparency Market Research, the global glyphosate herbicides market was valued at USD 5.46 billion in 2012 and is expected to reach USD 8.79 billion by 2019, growing at a CAGR of 7.2% over the forecast period from 2013 to 2019. In terms of volume, the global glyphosate market demand was 718.6 kilo tons in 2012.

2014-08-29 |

India: Concerns about BT Brinjal

There is a raging debate in the country about BT brinjal which is poised to become India’s first GM food if the biotech industry has its way. Its entry is resisted by scientists and civil society groups that question its safety.

2014-08-28 |

Guatemala: Farmers and indigenous people reject “Monsanto Law”

Maya Women selling vegetables (Photo: Guillén Pérez/flickr)

On Tuesday, indigenous and farmers’ organisations marched in the capital of Guatemala to demand the repeal of a new law which grants breeders exclusive rights over new plant varieties. The “Law for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants” was adopted by Congress on June 26 as a requirement of the Free Trade Agreement between Central America, Dominican Republic and the United States signed in 2005. Indigenous peoples and peasants protested in front of the Parliament and announced a legal appeal to the Constitutional Court. The law, which will enter into force on September 26, was dubbed “Monsanto Law” in reference to the corporation which is dedicated to developing new genetically modified crops. According to the Latin American Coordination of Rural Organisations (CLOC), the law threatens the Guatemalan people who live from agriculture and have been protecting their native seeds for thousands of years. It allows patents on new plant varieties and will initially be applied to varieties that are based on genetic elements of 15 crops, including corn. Within a ten year term, however, patents can be extended to all grains and vegetables. Farmers and indigenous communities are especially concerned about article 50 of the law, which foresees prison terms of up to four years and a fine of 10,000 quetzales for the reproduction of patented seeds. They fear that Monsanto could be the main beneficiary and distribute genetically modified seeds across the country. “Why are transnationals gaining control of our food, our food safety and sovereignty? This is something we will defend as a people”, Mash Mash, a member of Consejo de Pueblos de Occidente”, told Telesur. Farmer Magdalena Alvarado said: “This law affects us and all communities of the Mayan people because we grow corn, beans, and vegetables without contamination, everything is organic. We eat a lot of corn.” Activists criticise the government for approving the law without a social discussion while the public was distracted during the FIFA 2014 World Cup.

2014-08-27 |

Biofuel production is a main driver of the global land rush, new study

Jatropha Jatropha plantation (Forest and Kim Starr/flickr)

The production of agrofuel crops is playing a decisive role in the international scramble for arable land in developing and emerging countries, according to a new study from the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA). The study looked at 956 concluded large-scale land acquisitions (covering 36 million hectares of land) currently listed by the Land Matrix database. Projects that include plants intended for biofuel production account for 23% of the total area. Sub- Saharan Africa appears to be the most popular region for investments, with six countries representing almost half of the total land under contract among the top 10. Brazil ranks first due to its bioethanol-promoting policies. Agrofuel projects are particularly attractive to foreign investors from industrialised countries, the researchers found. With 1.5 million hectares acquired for biofuel production worldwide, companies from Great Britain top the list of investor countries. The analysis of the Land Matrix data also showed that agrofuel projects fail quite often. For instance, investors abandoned 15% of all jatropha projects, an oilseed-bearing plant that was praised for its alleged ability to generate high yields on marginal land. Jatropha had higher failure rates compared to oil palm or sugar cane projects as it became clear that jatropha, like most other plants, yields the best results in fertile soils. Jatropha investors were mostly start-ups with little experience. The researchers believe that the advancement of renewable energies will remain a priority in many countries: “The demand for agrofuels is expected to stay on course, perhaps even leading to a new wave of agrofuel investment.” In low- and middle-income countries, food security needs to be the primary concern of agriculture, the authors conclude.

2014-08-27 |

USA: Why Liberals Are Turning Against GMO Labeling

Europeans and many other countries that consider themselves “liberal minded” scratch their heads over why there is such a big controversy in the United States over the labeling of foods that contain genetically modified ingredients. Sixty-four nations around the world have enacted mandatory labeling laws.

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