What we’re following 12/18/09

Dec 18th, 2009 | By | Category: Food for Thought

New York Times: Monsanto to Allow Use of Seed After Patent
Monsanto, the world’s largest seed company and one of the major proponents of genetically modified crops, said in a letter to farm groups this week that it would allow farmers to grow its Roundup Ready soybeans even after a patent protecting the technology expired in 2014. This will apparently be the first expiration on a widely used bioengineered crop and it sets the stage for allowing farmers to use lower cost alternatives to Monsanto’s genetically modified soybeans. The company’s decision comes amid an antitrust investigation by the Justice Department in which critics say Monsanto required growers to buy an upgrade to its seed product.

African Arguments: Three Problems with the 60 Minutes Story on Congo Gold
This is a really interesting posting from the UC Berkeley doctoral student Dan Fahey, who writes that a recent 60 Minutes piece on conflict over gold in the Democratic Republic of Congo promoted false notions about the root causes of the conflict. He said high-profile media coverage, like that provided by a program like 60 Minutes, can play a powerful role in educating people about how consumer habits are connected to wars in other countries. But when the story poses misinformed questions, he said, it could lead to misguided policies to try to address the root causes of the war.

Global Food for Thought: The Post-Copenhagen Agenda for Agricultural Science
The highly-anticipated global climate change conference in Copenhagen is wrapping up this week. In response to the conference, the Global Agricultural Development Initiative solicited commentary from leading agricultural experts analyzing Cop15’s proceedings. One analysis comes from Stanford professor David Lobell, who talks about how the climate talks are sparking a huge interest in mitigation (undoing carbon emissions) and adaptation (making due in a changed world) efforts. But he also warns that in order for those efforts to be fruitful more needs to be done to define the potential benefits and costs of investing in agriculture.

The Independent: Organic farming ‘could feed Africa’
A new study recently released by the United Nations suggested that organic farming practices are delivering sharp increases in yields, improvements in the soil and a boost in the income of Africa’s smallholder farmers who remain among the poorest in the world. The study found that organic practices outperformed traditional methods and chemically intensive farming. It also found that organic farming produces strong environmental benefits such as improved soil fertility, better retention of water and resistance to drought.

— ARP Staff

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.