GM Mustard Trials Complete

Mustard Fields in Rajasthan. GMO mustard - India
Mustard Fields in Rajasthan. By Trees ForTheFuture [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
An application from Delhi University is being considered by the Rajasthan government to allow GM mustard to be the first GM crop to be cutivated commercially in India. Rajasthan is the country’s top producer of mustard. There is opposition to the move, however. Activists have started a petition on change.org that the government not allow the genetically modified mustard to be grown. The opposition also cites the failure of Bt cotton. Read the entire story, here on the Times of India.

Monsanto Withdraws
Cotton Seed from India

Cotton plant, Texas, 1996. Photo courtesy of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. ==Source== http://photogallery.nrcs.usda.gov/Index.asp
Cotton plant, Texas, 1996. Photo courtesy of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

In this Bloomberg piece, Lydia Mulvany reports that the world’s largest seed seller, Monsanto, has pulled the regulatory application for GM cotton seeds in India. That government has been debating with the agri-giant over royalty fees for their product, known as Bollgard II Roundup Ready Flex. Monsanto sells seed in India through a third party, which licenses the technology from Monsanto and collects fees.

Bangladesh’s Chowdhury
Greenlights GMOs

Matia Chowdhury, Bangladeshi Minister of Agriculture. By IRRI Photos [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Matia Chowdhury, Bangladeshi Minister of Agriculture. By IRRI Photos [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In a meeting on Saturday, Banglidesh’s Agriculture minister announced that the country will make use of GMO crops in it’s efforts to feed it’s people. She explained that in the same way that they used hybrid technology after 1996, they’ll use GMOs to boost production of crops. Read the Daily Sun story.

GMOs on Green’s Platform

GMO - Green Party - Jill Stein
By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
The platform for Green party candidate Jill Stein contains what the media is calling ‘anti-science’ items, including a moratorium on GMOs and pesticides (until they can be proven safe). Stein, a retired medical doctor, has been very involved with the issue of toxicity in children. She is anti-big-business. She has a mistrust of big agri-business, including Monsanto. It will be interesting to see if she can elevate the GMO moratorium to a National debate. See this article by CNN’s Eli Watkins.

Kenya to test Bt Maize

GMO Maize
National Biosafety Authority, chief executive officer, Dr Willy Tanui

In Kenya’s Kitale region, the Kenya Plant and Health Inspectorate Service will begin testing GMO insect-resistant maize before releasing it to farmers potentially in 2018 (should it perform better than conventional crops). See the article here in the Star. It is hoped that the Bt Maize will reduce the amount of crop lost to stem-borer (presently about 13 percent of Kenya’s crop, which equates to 400,000 tons of maize a year).

Bt Brinjal Farmer Speaks Out

Eggplant farmer, Mohammad Hafizur Rahman
Eggplant farmer, Mohammad Hafizur Rahman

Check out this video of Bengladesh farmer, Mohammad Hafizur Rahman setting straight the record about his Bt Brinjal crop. If we can believe the translation and subtitles, he claims to have a 100% increase in yield using genetically modified Bt Brinjal (eggplant). Evidently, an earlier news report about his fields dying prematurely were unfounded (if you read the comments in this story by the Alliance for Science (Cornell), there is some push back from the original reporter covering the story). Continue reading “Bt Brinjal Farmer Speaks Out”