News and Items of Interest Through the 2017 Holiday Season


News items related to ag tech, biotech, trade ? and perhaps some other interesting topics out there related to agriculture ? will be posted on this page throughout the remainder of 2017 through the holiday season (as time progresses newest items will be in?green?at bottom of sections).


Professor Calestous Juma was a good friend of the Global Farmer Network and very supportive of the farmers efforts to make their voices heard.? The news of the Kenyan-born Harvard profssor’s recent passing is sad, but his passion and inspiration guarantees his work and legacy will continue.? Thank you, Professor.

Professor Calestous Juma: Advocate for innovation – Cornell Alliance for Science – By Mark Lynas (Dec 18)

“…as Juma himself liked to tell the story, he learned innovation from his parents, whose poverty meant that they constantly had to change to survive.” – Link

Calestous Juma?s legacy of supporting innovation in Africa is the gift he gave us all – Quartz – By Yinka Adegoki (Dec 17) – Link

Kenyan Havard professor Calestous Juma is dead – The Star (Kenya) – By Patrick Vidua (Dec 15) – Link

Calestous Juma: Africa needs its own Green Revolution based on science and technology – Genetic Literacy Project – By Calestous Juma (from 2014) – Link


Future of the Food Industry – Financial Times (UK) special report

In this report, why a third of the world?s food is wasted on the journey from ?farm to fork?; modified salmon opens the floodgates to consumption of GM animals; scientists call for beetles, crickets and caterpillars to join the menu of human staples

See more here.


Opening Plenary Statement of USTR Robert Lighthizer at the WTO Ministerial Conference – Press Release, Office of the United States Trade Representative (Dec 11)

“I would like to make a few basic points. First, the WTO is obviously an important institution.? It does an enormous amount of good, and provides a helpful negotiating forum for Contracting Parties.?But, in our opinion, serious challenges exist…” – Link

The UK?s Multilateral Trade Future – Project Syndicate – By Giancarol Corsetti and Meredith A. Crowley (Dec 6)

“With Brexit looming, the UK has no choice but to redesign its future trading relationships. As a major producer of sophisticated components, its long-term trade strategy should focus on gaining deep and unfettered access to integrated cross-border supply chains ? and that means adopting a multilateral approach.” – Link

Make exit deal the law before we talk trade, EU chiefs insist – The Times (UK) (Dec 12) – Link

Government’s priority is to have permanent solution on public stockholding: Suresh Prabhu – The Times of India (Dec 10)

“India is pushing for an improvement over the Bali package for its public procurement programme for foodgrains” – Link

Mercosur/EU closer to an agreement but differences on new farm proposal remain undecided – MercoPress (Dec 11) – Link

EU talks with Mercosur stall – -?By Oscar Rousseau (Dec 15)

“A political agreement outlining major points of a free trade deal between Mercosur and the EU stalled, disappointing Brazilians who had hoped to wrap it up this week.” – Link

The U.S. Is Left Behind on Trade – Wall Street Journal, Editorial (Dec 14)

“The new Japan-EU deal will hurt a slew of American exporters.” – Link


“U.S. trade talks not going as well as hoped.” – Link

EU and Mexico make big push for trade deal – Politico Europe (Dec 19)

“An upgraded deal with Brussels will offer Mexico leverage against Trump as he threatens to tear up NAFTA.” – Link

Trump Releases National Security Strategy, Focus on Trade – AgWeb/Farm Journal Broadcast – By Ashley Davenport (Dec 19) – Link

Why the United States Is Wary of the WTO – Stratfor (Dec 14)

“Perhaps one of the more interesting outcomes of the Buenos Aires conference was a statement from the United States, the European Union and Japan that they would work trilaterally ? through the WTO and other bodies ? to eliminate “unfair market distorting and protectionist practices by third countries.”?They singled out overcapacity in certain sectors, forced technology transfers and state subsidies as a problem, all in a statement not too subtly aimed at Beijing.” – Link

America’s trade wars are heating up as U.S. firms sue for relief from foreign competitors – Los Angles Times – By Aaron Gregg, The Washington Post (Dec 26)

“…23 new trade disputes initiated since January, making 2017 the busiest year for tariff cases since 2001.” – Link



Brazil and US scientists discover molecule that has destroyed millions of citrus groves – MercoPress (Uruguay) (Dec 6)

?This will not cure greening disease, but it will allow us to work in an intelligent and assertive way against the insect… The first commercial solution should be available to farmers in a year…” – Link

Blockchain technology to ?trigger? disruption – By Oscar Rousseau (Dec 12)

“Supply chain disrupter blockchain technology could improve efficiency, food safety and traceability of meat, but business will need to ditch the paper trail first, a report has claimed.” – Link

GM canola derived lipids could replace fish oil in salmon feed FeedNavigator – By Jane Byrne (Dec 7)

“Early trials and analyses of omega-3 rich oil from genetically modified canola would indicate that it is safe to use in salmon feed.” – Link

HOW GENE EDITING WILL BOOST CROP YIELDS – Successful Farming – By Gil Gullickson (Dec 14)

“Gene editing is akin to flicking on a light switch (almost).” – Link

New crops, technology needed to help farmers adapt to rising heat: Gates Foundation – Reuters (Dec 12) – Link

Survey: GMO Questions Linger In Moms’ Minds – AgWeb – By Nate Birt (Dec 12) – Link


These Are Not Your Father?s GMOs – MIT Technology Review – By Antonio Regalado (Dec 19)

“The virtue of the technology is that it lets scientists create designer plants that don?t have foreign DNA in them. The technique, which adds or deletes snippets of genetic information, is similar to what could be achieved through conventional breeding, only much faster.” – Link


Taxes on Meat Could Join Carbon and Sugar to Help Limit Emissions – Bloomberg – By Emily Chasan (Dec 11)

“Meat could encounter the same fate as tobacco, carbon and sugar, which are currently taxed in 180, 60, and 25 jurisdictions around the world…” – Link

Should We Have a Meat Tax? – The Download, MIT Technology Review (Dec 12)

It?s worth noting that FAIRR [Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return Initiative] has an agenda: it was set up to highlight ?investment risks and opportunities connected with intensive livestock farming and poor animal welfare standards.? – Link

Meat is murder but I can?t?get?enough of it – The Times (UK) – By Hugo Rifkind (Dec 12)

“[FAIRR] Set up by Jeremy Coller, a motivated (and vegetarian) titan of the private equity industry, it seeks to discourage investment in nasty farming by arguing that the financial rewards are greater and the risk is less if that investment goes into nice farming instead.” – Link

Gates foundation commits $300m to help develop hardier crops in Africa and Asia – Business Day (S. Africa) / Reuters – By Thin Lei Win (Dec 12)

“New technologies are the key to helping Africa and Asia?s smallholder farmers adapt to climate change…” – Link

Organic Food Won?t Help You Get Pregnant – National Review – By Julie Kelly (Dec 6)

“Junk science and lazy reporting scare women undergoing fertility treatment” – Link

‘Big Ag’ may resonate with activists, but what does it really mean? -?Genetic Literacy Project – By Andrew Porterfield?(Dec 8) – Link

GM crop farmers may be held liable if they contaminate other properties – ABC News (Australia) – By Lucinda Jose (Dec 10)

“You have also got to remember that GM canola is a legal and safe crop, so why are we making that an example? I am still wondering what the ulterior motives are here…” – Link

GMOs Might Feed the World If Only Investors Weren?t So Scared – Bloomberg – By Deena Shanker (Dec 14)

“[L]oud, anti-GMO?sentiment?from activists and consumer groups have kept investors away, even when there?s a huge opportunity for benefits…” – Link

Is The Non-GMO Project a Charity? Amazon thinks so. – The Farmer’s Daughter USA – By Amanda Zaluckyj (Dec 14) – Link

French anti-biotech group destroys research field trial?of non-GMO crops – Genetic Literacy Project / Agence France Presse (Dec 19) – Link

EPA says herbicide in Roundup weed killer doesn’t cause cancer, contradicting California regulators – Los Angeles Times – By Geoffrey Mohan (Dec 18) – Link


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