Brazil farmers say GMO corn no longer resistant to pests

Genetically modified corn seeds are no longer protecting Brazilian farmers from voracious tropical bugs, increasing costs as producers turn to pesticides, a farm group said on Monday. Producers want four major manufacturers of so-called BT corn seeds to reimburse them for the cost of spraying up to three coats of pesticides this year, said Ricardo Tomczyk, president of Aprosoja farm lobby in Mato Grosso state. Experts in the United States have also warned about corn production prospects because of a growing bug resistance to genetically modified corn. Researchers in Iowa found significant damage from rootworms in corn fields last year.

— source reuters.com

Nearly two billion people depend on imported food

The Earth’s capacity to feed its growing population is limited – and unevenly distributed. An increase in cultivated land and the use of more efficient production technology are partly buffering the problem, but in many areas it is instead solved by increasing food imports. For the first time, researchers at Aalto University have been able to show a broad connection between resource scarcity, population pressure, and food imports, in a study published in Earth’s Future.

— source aalto.fi

Pesticides Causing ‘Catastrophic’ Harms to People, Environment

A new report presented today to the United Nations human rights council finds that the chronic overuse of pesticides across the world has caused “catastrophic” harms to human health, human rights and global biodiversity. The U.N.-solicited study on toxic chemical impacts to global food sources criticizes pesticide manufacturers’ “systematic denial” of the broad harms caused by their products and calls for a transition to healthier farming methods that move away from the current dependence on pesticides. The UN report finds that poverty, coupled with inequitable production and distribution systems, are two of the major barriers to feeding the hungry.

https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G17/017/85/PDF/G1701785.pdf?OpenElement

— source biologicaldiversity.org

Monsanto loses legal battle with Indian seed producer

Monsanto lost a legal battle with one of India’s biggest seed producers over a contract dispute on Tuesday, and was ordered to restore a licensing agreement and cut royalty charges.

The U.S. company’s joint venture Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (MMB) took Hyderabad-based Nuziveedu Seeds Ltd to court in 2015, claiming patent infringements and accusing the Indian company of continuing to use Monsanto’s technology after MMB had canceled its licensing contract.

The Delhi High Court ruled on Tuesday that MMB should not have canceled the contract in the first place, and said it must be restored. It also said royalty payments agreed under the original contract must be reduced in accordance with a change in Indian government policy last year.

The Indian government last year cut the royalties paid by local firms for Monsanto’s Bt, or Bacillus thuringiensis, seeds by about 70 percent, a decision which MMB must now adhere to with Nuziveedu.

— source reuters.com

Opposition rises to planned agriculture mega-mergers

More than 200 organisations have raised objections to the planned mergers of six giant agriculture corporations. Farmer, farmworker, beekeeper, religious, international development, and environmental groups claim that the three resulting companies will concentrate market power and “exacerbate the problems caused by industrial farming – with negative consequences for the public, farmers and farm workers, consumers, the environment, and food security” in an open letter to the European Commission and Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

The European and national organisations – together representing millions of members – state that the proposed mergers of Dow Chemical with DuPont, Monsanto with Bayer AG, and Syngenta with ChemChina will lead to an unacceptable monopoly, with three companies controlling around 70% of the world’s agro-chemicals and more than 60% of commercial seeds.

— source tni.org