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International News

2016-07-12 |

Biodiversity, GMOs, Gene Drives and the Militarized Mind

by Vandana Shiva

A recent report from the National Academy of Science of The United States, titled "Gene Drives on the Horizon: Advancing Science, Navigating Uncertainty, and Aligning Research with Public Values," warns:

“One possible goal of release of a gene-drive modified organism is to cause the extinction of the target species or a drastic reduction in its abundance.”

Gene Drives have been called "mutagenic chain reactions," and are to the biological world what chain reactions are to the nuclear world. The Guardian describes Gene Drives as the "gene bomb."

2016-07-11 |

Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh lead in earmarking special organic farming zones

NEW DELHI: After turning Sikkim into a fully organic state, India is now looking at a "cluster" approach to increase area under chemical-free farming in other states. Many states have already started earmarking exclusive organic farming zones, with Maharashtra leading the pack with 932 exclusive clusters followed by Madhya Pradesh (880), Rajasthan (755), Uttar Pradesh (575), Uttarakhand (550) and Karnataka (545).

2016-07-09 |

Monsanto and DuPont Announce New Weed Killer for GMO Crops

One of the biggest concerns about the cultivation of genetically modified crops is the rise of superweeds caused by the overuse of glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto's best-selling Roundup and other pesticides.

So, in an effort to beat back these herbicide-defying weeds, Monsanto and DuPont have agreed to sell an even stronger weed killer to go with their genetically modified seeds.

2016-07-04 |

Genetically Modified (GM) Soya in South Africa: Status Quo Report

ACBio_Report ACBio_Report

This briefing paper presents the status of genetically modified (GM) soya in South Africa. GM Soybean seed owned by Monsanto and genetically engineered to withstand the herbicide glyphosate, accounts for 90% of all soya bean production in South Africa.

Soya is now one of South Africa’s most important crops and has surpassed sunflower as the country’s major oilseed crop. In 2015/16 despite the crippling drought, South African farmers planted a record 687 000 ha of GM soybeans, yielding a harvest of over 1 million tons. It is expected that production will rise 1 million ha within a decade.

The majority of GM soya grown in South Africa is for the animal feed industry, though previous GM testing by the ACB has found GM soya in a variety of food products, including bread, breakfast cereals and soya mince.

The use of glyphosate in South African agriculture has increased dramatically since the introduction of GM crops, and the continued increase in cultivation of GM soya is likely to exacerbate this trend. Should local weed populations start developing resistance to glyphosate, as has happened elsewhere, South Africans can expect the introduction of GM soya varieties tolerant to combinations of more and more toxic chemicals such as 2,4 D and dicamba.

2016-06-29 |

Greenpeace comment on Commission extension of glyphosate licence

Press release - June 29, 2016
Brussels – The European Commission has extended a licence for glyphosate, a controversial weedkiller, until the end of 2017, when the European Chemicals Agency is expected to complete an assessment of glyphosate’s effects on human health and the environment.

Commenting on the Commission’s decision, Greenpeace EU food policy director Franziska Achterberg said: “The EU has decided to extend the use of glyphosate without any meaningful restriction, despite WHO warnings that it is a probable cause of cancer. This reckless decision was driven by a Commission that has lost touch with European citizens, quietly backed by many national governments.

The end of 2017 is just around the corner. National and regional governments, and the European Commission, should start preparing a glyphosate exit plan as soon as possible.”

2016-06-29 |

Press release - FAQs: Glyphosate

Does the EU authorise the placing on the market of pesticides?

No, that's the role of the Member States, but active substances in the pesticides have to be approved at EU level.

Once an active substance has been approved or renewed at EU level, the safety evaluation of every pesticide (also referred to as Plant Protection Products PPPs) formulation is done at a later stage by individual Member States before they grant, refuse or restrict – the use of pesticides formulations at national level.

In their authorisation decision, Member States can therefore define the conditions for use of the product, for instance; restricted to certain crops; to professional use; for use in glass houses only.

Active substances:

An active substance undergoes an intensive evaluation and peer-review by Member States and the European Food Safety Authority, before a decision can be made on approval.

Before an active substance can be used within a product in the EU, it must be approved at EU level.


Pesticides and herbicides sold in the market also referred to as Plant Protection Products (PPPs) contain at least one approved active substance.

Before any pesticide can be placed on the market or used, it must be authorised in the Member State(s) concerned.

Member States could grant, refuse or restrict the use of a specific product.

Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 lays down the rules and procedures for authorisation of Plant Protection Products.

2016-06-28 |

Glyphosate approval - EU governments should begin glyphosate phase-out following Commission intransigence

EU health commissioner Andriukaitas this evening confirmed that the European Commission would be granting a temporary 'technical extension' of the EU approval of the herbicide glyphosate, despite the proposal having failed to secure the support of the necessary qualified majority of EU governments again last week. Commenting on the decision, Green environment and food safety spokesperson Bart Staes stated:

"This decision by the Commission to extend the approval of glyphosate in spite of last week's vote shows a disdain for the opposition by the public and EU governments to this controversial toxic herbicide. As perhaps the first EU decision after the UK referendum, it shows the Commission is failing to learn the clear lesson that the EU needs to finally start listening to its citizens again. This temporary extension must be the beginning of the end for glyphosate; we would now urge EU governments and regions to exercise their rights to impose significant restrictions on its use, so we can begin the process of phasing-out glyphosate.

2016-06-28 |

Burkina Faso Abandons GM Cotton

Burkina Faso is phasing out genetically modified cotton. It says it produces a poor quality crop which fetches low prices. This hasn't stop other African states from using genetic technology, or trying it out.

Burkina Faso's "white gold" was famous. For years, the cotton grown in the West African country was regarded as the best on the continent until the harvests were destroyed by pests and drought in the 1990s, ruining the livelihoods of thousands of cotton farmers. The US agricultural seed manufacturer Monsanto promised Burkina Faso a remedy: genetically modified cotton seeds that would be resistant to a changing climate, simplify pest protection and produce bumper yields. Burkina Faso's government signed a deal with Monsanto in 2003 and six years later genetically modified seeds were distributed to cotton farmers. Soon 70 percent of cotton fields were sown with genetically modified seed.

2016-06-27 |

Demand for Bt cotton seeds sharply down

Nagpur: There has been a major dip in the demand for genetically modified Bt cotton seeds this kharif season. The seeds that were introduced by the US multinational Monsanto in 2002 have become mainstay of cotton farming since then. This year, there has been a sharp increase in use of local varieties of cotton seeds instead of Bt in the northern states. The area seems to have gone up but the supply of indigenous seeds did not keep pace, sources said. A similar trend was expected in other cotton growing areas of the country too.

According to the figures compiled by city-based Central Institute of Cotton Research (CICR), as against 3,000 odd hectares under indigenous varieties of cotton last year, there are 72,280 hectares this season in northern states. The data was collected from states' agricultural departments, said Dr Keshav Kranthi, director of CICR, a government research agency.

2016-06-26 |

Press Conference: New GMO Technologies – old illusory promises of salvation

What the International Monsanto Tribunal wants to achieve
and why the Bayer-Monsanto merger must be blocked

Berlin, June 22th, 2016 – An alliance between NABU, Navdanya International, IFOAM (International Foundation for Organic Agriculture), Organics International and the Coordination against BAYER risks, invites you to a press conference that will take place on Monday, June 27th, 2016, from 12pm to 1pm at NABU Bundesgeschäftsstelle, Charitéstraße 3, Berlin-Mitte.

The speakers are:
– Dr. Vandana Shiva, globally known activist, eco-feminist, and winner of the Alternative Nobel Prize (Right Livelihood Award, 1993)
– Antonius Michelmann renowned chemist and new director of the Coordination against BAYER risks
-Sarah Wiener, acclaimed cook and activist on food and agricultural issues
Presentation: Bernward Geier

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