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19.04.2017 |

Stop BAYER / MONSANTO days of action in Germany

Along with the Coalition against Bayer Dangers, IFOAM Organics International, Colabora and many other civil society movements and organisations, Navdanya is co-organising a “Stop Bayer / Monsanto” mobilization in Germany from 25-29 of April 2017.

More and more farmers movements, environmental groups, trade unions and students organizations are joining the series of actions, which will converge in Bonn on April 28th, for a demonstration in front of the World Conference Center where the 2017 Bayer shareholders meeting will be held.

07.04.2017 |

Genetically-engineered crop debate not over...yet

MEDFORD, Ore. -- The discussion over G.M.O.'s isn't over yet.

Senate Bill 1037 and House Bill 2739 deal with making all of Oregon a "seed sanctuary" and protecting farmers from cross-contamination.

If approved, 1037 would create around 4,000 square miles of G.M.O.-free land combined between Josephine and Jackson counties.

House bill 2739 needs more support by tomorrow to keep it alive.

"I hear farmers say 'you know, you're so fortunate you get to grow in an area where you feel safe from GMO crops and the threats of them,' then you think every farmer should have that right. To stop is really hard and especially when you have a neighboring county like Josephine," Elise Higley, with Our Family Farms, said.

07.04.2017 |

Monsanto illegally Introduces Round Up Resistant GMO Cotton in India

New Delhi: On the occasion of World Health Day, 7 April, Navdanya along with Swadeshi Jagran Manch appeals to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ban Monsanto on account of its illegal introduction of herbicide tolerant GMO Round-up Ready Flex Bt cotton (RR Bt Cotton). Round-up, a glyphosate-based herbicide has been declared a “probable carcinogen” by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Sri Lanka and many European countries have already banned glyphosate because of reported and probable deaths as well as diseases directly linked to the use of this herbicide.

06.04.2017 |

Farms could slash pesticide use without losses, research reveals | Environment

Virtually all farms could significantly cut their pesticide use while still producing as much food, according to a major new study. The research also shows chemical treatments could be cut without affecting farm profits on over three-quarters of farms.

The scientists said that many farmers wanted to reduce pesticide use, partly due to concerns for their own health. But farmers do not have good access to information on alternatives, the researchers said, because much of their advice comes from representatives of companies that sell both seeds and pesticides.

The work presents a serious challenge to the billion-dollar pesticide industry, which has long argued its products are vital to food production, especially with the world population set to grow to nine billion people by 2050.

04.04.2017 |

New Breeding Techniques and synthetic biology - genetic engineering by another name

Advocates claim that synthetic biology and the so-called New Breeding Techniques (NBTs) are distinct from genetic engineering (GE), write Helena Paul, Elisabeth Bücking & Ricarda Steinbrecher. In fact synthetic biology and NBTs carry similar risks to old-style GE, and even create novel hazards. The 'new GE' techniques - as they should be named - and their products deserve regulation at least as strict as those applying to GMOs.

With the development of new genetic engineering techniques, the ease and speed of creating genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has sharply increased, and the costs have gone down.

Scientists have acquired the ability to make deeper and more complex changes to the genetic makeup of living organisms.

Not only can DNA be rapidly sequenced but DNA strands can also be easily synthesised, taking digital sequence instructions directly from computers (and the internet).

This has led to the emergence of two new fields of genetic engineering that overlap with each other: synthetic biology (or synbio) and the so-called New Breeding Techniques (NBTs). In most cases both involve the use of old-style genetic engineering, but they also go much further.

So what precisely are these new techniques?

30.03.2017 |

Opposition mounts to ‘marriage made in hell’ Bayer-Monsanto mega-merger

Bayer-Monsanto: a marriage m
Bayer-Monsanto: a marriage m

Friends of the Earth Europe staged a 'marriage made in hell' outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels today to symbolise the threat to food and farming posed by the planned merger of the agriculture and chemical companies Bayer and Monsanto.

Environmentalists, farmers, farmworkers, beekeepers, and religious and international development groups are all opposed to the deal and are calling on EU authorities to block it. A letter signed by 200 organisations was delivered to European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestage on Monday.

Adrian Bebb of Friends of the Earth Europe said: "Europe's food and farming system is broken and if giant firms, like Monsanto and Bayer, are allowed to merge they will have an even tighter toxic grip on our food. The mergers are a marriage made in hell and should be blocked by regulators. We need to build a fairer and greener food system out of corporate control."

29.03.2017 |

Commission calms Trump by clearing major agro-chemical merger

The European Commission approved on Monday (27 March) the proposed $130 billion merger of Dow Chemical and DuPont. But the decision triggered a strong reaction from environmentalists, who believe that such mergers lead to “major monopolies”.

Dow Chemical and DuPont, two of the oldest US companies, announced their tie-up in December 2015 to create the world’s biggest chemicals and materials group.

“Due to significant commitments on products and the worldwide research and development organisation, the merger of Dow and Dupont can be approved,” EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.

The European Commission had been concerned that the merger of two of the biggest and oldest US chemical producers would have few incentives to produce new herbicides and pesticides in the future.

It said that the asset sales would ensure competition in the sector and benefit European farmers and consumers.

“We need effective competition in this sector so companies are pushed to develop products that are ever safer for people and better for the environment,” Vestager said in a statement.

28.03.2017 |

European Nations Vote Against GMO Crops

The majority of European Union governments voted against a proposal to authorize two new strains of genetically modified (GMO) maize today.

The two varieties of maize, DuPont Pioneer's 1507 and Syngenta's Bt11, kill insects by producing its own pesticide and is also resistant Bayer's glufosinate herbicide.

If approved, the varieties would be the first new GMO crops authorized for cultivation in the EU since 1998.

However, as Reuters noted, the votes against authorization did not decisively block their entry to the EU because the opposition did not represent a "qualified majority."

A qualified majority is achieved when at least 16 countries, representing at least 65 percent of the European population, vote in favor or against. (Scroll down for the vote breakdown)

The majority of EU governments also voted against renewing the license for another maize, Monsanto's MON810, the only GMO crop currently grown in the EU. The votes against its renewal was not considered decisive either.

MON810 is banned in 17 EU countries and is grown on less than 1 percent of agricultural land, mainly in Spain and Portugal, according to Friends of the Earth Europe.

27.03.2017 |

Resistance to agri-business is rising

Together with 200+ civil society organisations, ASEED has signed an open letter to the EU Commissioner Vestager (responsible for competition and for regulating the mergers) and other relevant Commissioners to voice its opposition to giant agri-business mergers.

According to a Reuters article, the EU antitrust regulators are likely to approve the Dow Chemical – DuPont and ChemChina’s – Syngenta mergers this Monday (March 27th) or Tuesday (March 28th). Friends of the Earth Europe has therefore decided to deliver the open letter to the Commissioners today. The text is pretty straightforward and explains why signers are worried about the possible mergers in six points.

The signers of the letter state: “these mergers risk major monopoly outcomes that would further increase corporate control of agriculture, restrict farmers’ choices, curb consumer choice, increase chemical use and harm the environment, damage Europe’s food sovereignty and harm countries in the Global South and the right to food.”

27.03.2017 |

Governments and citizens reject GMOs, Commission must follow – Greenpeace

Brussels – Today, national government representatives failed to support the approval of three genetically modified (GM) maize crops for cultivation in Europe: two new ones and the only GM crop currently grown in the EU.

While no qualified majority was reached, the number of rejections shows that GMO opposition clearly outweighs support. It was the second vote by national governments on the European Commission’s proposals to approve the three GM crops. The first vote, held in January 2017, had also failed to deliver a qualified majority. Therefore, it is now up to the Commission to take the final

Greenpeace EU food policy director Franziska Achterberg said: “When he was elected, Commission President Juncker promised more democratic decision-making. This vote leaves no doubt that approving these GM crops would break that promise. A majority of governments, parliamentarians and Europeans oppose them, and two thirds of European countries ban GMO cultivation on their lands. Instead of backing risky products peddled by multinational corporations, the Commission should support ecological farming and the solutions it provides for rural areas, farmers and the environment.”

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