Monthly Archives: June 2011

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The Monsanto/Bill Gates Plot: Genetically Engineered Rice Threatens Asian Countries

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has approved $20 million in new monies toward the development of “golden rice” — an untested, highly controversial GE (genetically engineered) crop that threatens biodiversity and risks bringing economic and ecological disaster to Asia’s farms. The leader of the Golden Rice project is Gerald Barry, previously director of research at Monsanto. Sarojeni V. Rengam, executive director of Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific (PAN AP), has called the rice a “Trojan horse.” According to Rengam, the rice is “… a public relations stunt pulled by the agri-business corporations to garner acceptance of GE crops and food. The whole idea of GE seeds is […]

Ending Indifference: A Law to Exile Hunger?

Harsh Mander Current Issue : VOL 46 No. 25 June 18 – June 24, 2011, EPW Can we agree in this country on a floor of human dignity below which we will not allow any human being to fall? No child, woman or man in this land will sleep hungry. No person shall be forced to sleep under the open sky. No parent shall send their child out to work instead of to school. And no one shall die because they cannot afford the cost of hospitals and medicine. Can we agree that whatever this costs, we will pay? A comprehensive National Food Security Act will be the first step […]

Bihar is turning its attention to popularising and promoting organic farming in the state to usher in a new “Green Revolution”

Submitted on 06/21/2011 – 09:20:03 AM Patna: After good roads, improving law and order, education and health services, Bihar is turning its attention to popularising and promoting organic farming in the state to usher in a new “Green Revolution” in agriculture. In a bid to spread awareness about benefits of organic farming among farmers, hundreds of national and international organic farming scientists and experts are expected to gather in the Bihar capital here for a three-day conference beginning Wednesday. “This conference of national and international organic farming scientists and experts will boost the government’s plans of attracting farmers to adopt organic farming,” Bihar Agricultural Management and Extension Training Institute Director […]

Is NREGS stealing labour?

The coexistence of both job and labour shortages points to the urgent need to tweak the scheme and reform labour laws Ajit Ranade /  June 21, 2011, 0:54 IST The data on last year’s economic growth in India had one curious aspect. It was related to construction activity. Usually it is a sector that is highly correlated with the overall economy. It captures commercial and residential real estate, public and private infrastructure and decisions of millions of single home builders, as also their architects, masons, painters and bricklayers. If we had a better organised mortgage market and more transparent process of title registrations, we could also have used “housing starts” […]

Why our food is so dependent on Oil?

Are we eating food or oil? Why our food production is so dependent on oil and what are links between the ways of production, consumption and climate change? Two interesting articles on this topic Why Our Food is So Dependent on Oil Eating Oil: Food Supply in a Changing_ClimateFighting Global Warming at the Farmer’s Market The Role of Local Food Systems In Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The cost-effective way to feed the world

MARGARET MELLON AND DOUG GURIAN-SHERMAN By 2050, the world will have to feed 9 billion people, adapt to climate change, reduce agricultural pollution, and protect fresh water supplies – all at the same time. Given that formidable challenge, what are the quickest, most cost-effective ways to develop more productive, drought-, flood- and pest-resistant crops? Some will claim that genetically engineered (GE) crops are the solution. But when compared side-by-side, classical plant breeding bests genetic engineering. Coupled with ecologically based management methods that reduce the environmental harm of crop production, classical breeding could go a long way toward producing the food we will need by mid-century. Producing better crops faster certainly […]

Response to the Stakeholders workshop on GM foods organised by Asia Pacific Consortium on Agricultural Biotechnology and TAAS on 19th May in New Delhi

Dear Colleagues, This is in response to the attached 6-page report of a one-day (on 19 May 2011) meeting titled “Stakeholders’ Interface on GM Food Crops” at IARI, New Delhi. The meeting was organized by Asia-Pacific Consortium on Agricultural Biotechnology (APCoAB) and Trust for Advancement of Agricultural Sciences (TAAS). APCoAB is a program of the Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI) whose Executive Secretary at present is Dr R.S. Paroda (and he has held this important position for about 13 years). TAAS is a New Delhi based trust whose founder Chairman is also Dr R.S. Paroda. The names of seven reputed scientists that are mentioned in the attached report […]

Feed-grade maize turns costlier than wheat

New Delhi/Chennai, June 15: Chickenfeed is far from that. Today, it is probably as, if not more, expensive to feed chicken than humans! Feed-grade maize, or corn, sells at Rs 1,230-1,240 a quintal, which is more than the Rs 1,150-1,200 for wheat in most mandis near key producing centres.A year ago, maize ruled at Rs 960-980, while wheat quoted over Rs 1,250. . On the futures market, too, maize is ruling above wheat. The most actively traded maize contract for July delivery quotes at Rs 1,306 a quintal against Rs 979.30 during the same time last year. In the case of wheat, the actively traded contract for delivery in July […]

Rajasthan seed initiative wilts: MoUs with biotech seed companies in limbo as protests force a rethink

Author(s): Latha Jishnu Issue: Jun 30, 2011 Krishi Vigyan Kendras of agriculture universities are conducting little research (Photo: Jyotika Sood) Ten months after Rajasthan signed its extraordinary memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with seven biotech seed companies, the state government finds itself caught in a cleft stick. Owing to a series of protests by farmers’ organisations, the government has thought it prudent not to execute the MoUs. At the same time, with pressure mounting from some of the seed companies to formalise the agreements, it has been unable to put together a policy framework for the public-private partnerships (PPPs) it wants to implement. When Rajasthan signed MoUs with seven seed companies, […]

Bt gene harms GM plant: New answers to old questions on biosafety of GM crops

Author(s): G V RAMANJANEYULU Issue: Jun 30, 2011 G V Ramanjaneyulu Entomopathogenic bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) and its toxins have been extensively used for pest control in agriculture and forestry and in public health programmes since the 1930s. At the core of such application are protein crystals that get synthesised when Bt cells develop spores. The proteins called Cry (from Crystal) are inimical to certain insect groups. Transgenic plants containing Bt genes, commercially available since the 1990s, are developed by transferring genes to produce specific Cry proteins like CryIAc and Cry2AB. It is presumed the genes perform the same function of producing the toxin in the plant as they […]

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