Congratulations to Global Farmer Network member Nyasha Mudukuti from Zimbabwe for her commentary in The Wall Street Journal!

We May Starve, but at Least We’ll Be GMO-Free appeared online Mar 10 and in the Mar 11 print edition.

Nyasha participated in the 2014 Global Farmer Roundtable and it was instantly clear the incredible passion and determination she felt for studying and advancing agriculture in order to help her family and fellow farmers in Zimbabwe.  Her family farms and she is currently also a student at Chinhoyi University of Technology in Zimbabwe and the AGCO Africa Ambassador 2016.

Nyasha has inserted her voice in a powerful way in an area she knows first hand, and literally from the ground up as a small-scale farmer.  Not only is she speaking authoritatively about agricultural biotechnology that’s currently a hot button issue globally, but she is also doing so from inside an authoritarian nation.  Her courage is without question.

Congratulations again to Nyasha and we look forward to hearing more from her in the future.

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The Economist magazine also has a couple of interesting paralleling pieces related to African agriculture in their current [Mar 12 print] edition:

Miracle grow – After many wasted years, African agriculture is improving quickly.  Here is how to keep that trend going

A green revolution – The farms of Africa are prospering at last thanks to persistence, technology and decent government

As usual, there is quite of bit going on in the world regarding agricultural and trade issues.  It’s possible according to news sources that the US Senate may take up Sen. Roberts GMO labeling bill next week, so all eyes will be out watching progress on that front.  Also, below is some other recent news of interest, including a link to a compilation of information on what the US Presidential candidates have said on trade issues…

FOOD LABELING:

USA Today, EditorialGMO labels feed fears: Our view (Mar 10)

These days, though, scientific evidence can easily fall victim to scary warnings based on emotion but devoid of fact.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/03/10/gmo-labeling-vermont-congress-fda-editorials-debates/81582044/

Forbes.comThe USDA ‘Organic’ Label Misleads And Rips Off Consumers – By Henry I. Miller and John J. Cohrssen (Mar 7)

USDA’s organic seal is an endorsement that “nudges” consumers toward irrationality–the purchase of organic products at markedly inflated prices and without evidence of palpable benefits.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/henrymiller/2016/03/07/the-usda-organic-label-misleads-and-rips-off-consumers/#4a8a813f536a

Delta Farm Press‘Follow the money’ when environmental activist groups come calling – By Forrest Laws (Mar 9)

“Pathological science is the generation of headlines meant to scare and intimidate people and change people’s purchasing habits,” says Hayes. “We see it a lot in agriculture with headlines like ‘This crop can cause cancer’ or ‘This crop may hurt your family in this way.’

http://deltafarmpress.com/corn/follow-money-when-environmental-activist-groups-come-calling

 

BIOTECH:

Reuters – Philippines signs new GMO rules, food industry relieved (Mar 7)

The Philippines has approved a new set of rules on genetically modified organisms after a top court demanded an overhaul of previous regulations, providing relief to farmers and importers worried that any delay would spark a food crisis.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-philippines-gmo-idUSKCN0W90MK

ISAAA Crop Biotech UpdateMalawi approves confined field trials of transgenic bananas (Mar 9)

http://www.isaaa.org/kc/cropbiotechupdate/article/default.asp?ID=14237

ReutersIndia cuts Monsanto cotton seed royalties despite threat to quit (Mar 9)

India cut the royalties paid by local firms for Monsanto’s genetically modified cotton seeds by nearly 70 percent on Wednesday, ignoring a threat by the world’s biggest seed company to leave if it did.

http://in.reuters.com/article/india-monsanto-btcotton-royalty-idINKCN0WB1WK

The Land (Australia) – Film maker warns of anti-GM threat – By Mal Gill (Mar 9)

The anti-genetically modified “non-science movement” is the biggest threat to agriculture being able to feed a future world and it is time its claims were countered.

http://www.theland.com.au/story/3778272/film-maker-warns-of-anti-gm-threat/

SciDevNetBioscience key to solving agricultural challenges – By Gilbert Nakweya (3 Mar)

http://www.scidev.net/sub-saharan-africa/agriculture/news/biosciences-solving-agricultural-challenges.html?mc_cid=488c879242&mc_eid=5139430f0d

 

TRADE:

Council for Foreign Relations – Campaign 2016, Issue Summary on Trade.  Candidate Perspectives on trade issues for the 2016 Republican and Democratic U.S. Presidential candidates can be found here, and it’s been compiled in a brief and concise format – click here.

World Trade OrganizationWTO Members look at way forward in agriculture talks (Mar 8)

WTO members considered the way forward in agriculture talks at the first informal meeting of agriculture negotiations after the WTO Nairobi Ministerial Conference on 8 March. Members identified a broad set of issues for their continuing negotiations and stressed the central role of agriculture in development.

https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news16_e/agng_09mar16_e.htm

 

OTHER:

AAAS, Public Release – Drug-resistant genes spread through environment, not meat products (Mar 8)

First study to track antibiotic resistance in beef production, published in eLife, suggests researchers and policy-makers need to switch focus to combat drug-resistant bugs

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-03/e-dgs030816.php