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EFSA - Scientific Report of EFSA: 2010 EU Report on Pesticide Residues

EFSA - Scientific Report of EFSA: 2010 EU Report on Pesticide Residues | Agricultural Research | Scoop.it

This report presents the results of the control of pesticide residues in food commodities sampled during the calendar year 2010 in the 27 EU Member States and two EFTA countries (Iceland and Norway). The report also comprises the outcome of the consumer risk assessment of pesticide residues. EFSA presents for the first time the results of a pilot cumulative risk assessment (CRA) to multiple chemical residues. Finally, the report provides some recommendations aimed at the improvement of the future monitoring programmes and the enforcement of the European pesticide residue legislation. In total, more than 77,000 samples of approximately 500 different types of food (raw or processed) were analysed for pesticide residues by national competent authorities. Considering the results concerning both the national and the EU-coordinated programmes, the total number of analytical determinations reported among all the countries amounted to more than 14 million. The results of the EU-coordinated programme for 2010 showed that 1.6% of total samples analysed exceeded the European legal limits (MRLs). EFSA concluded that the long-term exposure of consumers did not raise health concerns. In assessing the short-term exposure, the pesticide monitoring results revealed that a risk could not be excluded for 79 samples concerning 30 different pesticides if the pertinent food was consumed in high amounts. The results of the CRA are considered indicative as the work on establishing which groups of pesticides are expected to share the same toxicological effects is not yet complete and the final methodological approach needs to be further elaborated. The outcome of the pilot CRA demonstrated that the exposure calculations are affected by significant uncertainties, mainly related to the analytical results reported as “non-detected”. The methodology used in this pilot exercise will be further revised to reduce the uncertainties of the exposure assessment.


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Umfangeicher Bericht zu Pestizidrückständen in der EU

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Watch an Autonomous Robot Farmer Harvest Data from the Field - Motherboard

Watch an Autonomous Robot Farmer Harvest Data from the Field - Motherboard | Agricultural Research | Scoop.it
Watch an Autonomous Robot Farmer Harvest Data from the Field
Motherboard
The Ladybird is a solar-powered, autonomous, data-collecting robot built by Australian scientists to help make farming more efficient.

Via Golam Rasul
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California drought: America’s golden state runs dry - and its farmers are struggling to survive

California drought: America’s golden state runs dry - and its farmers are struggling to survive | Agricultural Research | Scoop.it
At Harris Farms in California’s Central Valley, it is not difficult to discern the effects of the state’s continuing drought. Fields that in previous years would have been lined with tomatoes or broccoli now contain nothing but brown earth. Around two thirds of the farm’s 14,000 acres are fallow, and for the first year since it started to grow salad leaves more than three decades ago, the farm has planted not a single head of lettuce.

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Rain doesn't follow the plow: climate change, agriculture and water

Rain doesn't follow the plow: climate change, agriculture and water | Agricultural Research | Scoop.it
It takes about 1000 cubic metres (m3) of water to produce the food that one person eats in a year, assuming a daily intake of 2800 kilocalories (kcal) per day. This doesn’t include all the food was...
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New rules on genetically modified foods to take effect in 2016 - Focus Taiwan (2014)

The new regulations... extended requirements for labeling of products containing genetically modified substances to unpackaged food and food additives... Labeling will be required for products in which genetically modified substances account for at least 3 percent of the products' total contents...

The new labeling rules will not apply, however, to soy sauce, soy oil, corn syrup and corn starch because they are highly processed items that no longer contain DNA fragments of soybeans or corn needed to determine if the products contain genetically modified substances... 

 

http://focustaiwan.tw/news/asoc/201406200036.aspx

 


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Alexander J. Stein's curator insight, June 25, 5:45 PM

A threshold of 3% and product-based labeling. 

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To target Greenpeace's flying director is to miss the point

To target Greenpeace's flying director is to miss the point | Agricultural Research | Scoop.it
It's easy to set green against green, but the charity's problems run wider and deeper than one person's travel plans Continue reading...
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Greenpeace losses: leaked documents reveal extent of financial disarray

Emails and meeting notes show groups finance department has a long history of problems in its handling of the £58m budget Continue reading...
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Der Skandal bei Greenpeace scheint dich größer.
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Genetically modified grass for dairy cows sparks concern

Genetically modified grass for dairy cows sparks concern | Agricultural Research | Scoop.it
Australian dairy cows are a step closer to being fed genetically modified rye grass designed to boost milk production, sparking concerns from both organic and non-organic farmers.
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Sir Conway's guide to feeding the world

Sir Conway's guide to feeding the world | Agricultural Research | Scoop.it
Sir Gordon Conway says we need to increase food production by more than 70 per cent by 2050.

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Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 - Fernandez-Cornejo &al (2014) - USDA

Pesticide Use in U.S. Agriculture: 21 Selected Crops, 1960-2008 - Fernandez-Cornejo &al (2014) - USDA | Agricultural Research | Scoop.it

Pesticide use has changed considerably over the past five decades. Rapid growth characterized the first 20 years, ending in 1981. The total quantity of pesticides applied to the 21 crops analyzed grew from 196 million pounds of pesticide active ingredients in 1960 to 632 million pounds in 1981. lmprovements in the types and modes of action of active ingredients applied along with small annual fluctuations resulted in a slight downward trend in pesticide use to 516 million pounds in 2008.

 

These changes were driven by economic factors that determined crop and input prices and were influenced by pest pressures, environmental and weather conditions, crop acreages, agricultural practices (including adoption of genetically engineered crops), access to land-grant extension personnel and crop consultants, the cost-effectiveness of pesticides and other practices in protecting crop yields and quality, technological innovations in pest management systems/practices, and environmental and health regulations.

 

Emerging pest management policy issues include the development of glyphosate-resistant weed populations associated with the large increase in glyphosate use since the late l990s, the development of Bt-resístant western com rootworm in some areas, and the arrival of invasive or exotic pest species, such as soybean aphid and soybean rust, which can influence pesticide use patterns and the development of Integrated Pest Management programs.

 

http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/eib-economic-information-bulletin/eib124.aspx

 


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DLG Merkblatt zu Gärresten

DLG Merkblatt zu Gärresten | Agricultural Research | Scoop.it

Ein Expertenteam der DLG Ausschüsse für Ackerbau und für Pflanzenernährung hat alle wesentlichen Aspekte in Bezug auf die Anwendung von Gärresten im Ackerbau in einem DLG-Merkblatt „Gärreste im Ackerbau effizient nutzen“ zusammengetragen. Bei den derzeit rund 7.500 Biogasanlagen werden neben Strom und Wärme auch ca. 60 Mio. Tonnen an Gärresten, die nährstoffhaltigen Endprodukte des Gärprozesses, produziert. Diese Gärreste werden nahezu ausschließlich im Ackerbau und im Grünland als organische Dünger eingesetzt. Neben den teils großen logistischen Herausforderungen im Gärrestmanagement muss auch der Umgang mit Gärresten und dessen Wirkungen als Düngemittel berücksichtigt werden.

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Wheat rust: The fungal disease that threatens to destroy the world crop

Wheat rust: The fungal disease that threatens to destroy the world crop | Agricultural Research | Scoop.it
Scientists are warning that wheat is facing a serious threat from a fungal disease that could wipe out the world’s crop if not quickly contained. Wheat rust, a devastating disease known as the “polio of agriculture”, has spread from Africa to South and Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe, with calamitous losses for the world’s second most important grain crop, after rice. There is mounting concern at the dangers posed to global food security.

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Meeting climate targets may require reducing meat and dairy consumption - Chalmers U (2014)

Meeting climate targets may require reducing meat and dairy consumption - Chalmers U (2014) | Agricultural Research | Scoop.it

Greenhouse gas emissions from food production may threaten the UN climate target of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius... Carbon dioxide emissions from the energy and transportation sectors currently account for the largest share of climate pollution. However... eliminating these emissions would not guarantee staying below the UN limit. Emissions from agriculture threaten to keep increasing as global meat and dairy consumption increases. If agricultural emissions are not addressed, nitrous oxide from fields and methane from livestock may double by 2070. This alone would make meeting the climate target essentially impossible. “We have shown that reducing meat and dairy consumption is key to bringing agricultural climate pollution down to safe levels,” says Fredrik Hedenus, one of the study authors.  “Broad dietary change can take a long time.  We should already be thinking about how we can make our food more climate friendly.” By 2070, there will be many more of us on this planet. Diets high in meat, milk, cheese, and other food associated with high emissions are expected to become more common. Because agricultural emissions are difficult and expensive to reduce via changes in production methods or technology, these growing numbers of people, eating more meat and dairy, entail increasing amounts of climate pollution from the food sector...  Beef and lamb account for the largest agricultural emissions, relative to the energy they provide. By 2050, estimates indicate that beef and lamb will account for half of all agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, while only contributing 3 percent of human calorie intake. Cheese and other dairy products will account for about one quarter of total agricultural climate pollution. http://www.chalmers.se/en/news/Pages/Meeting-climate-targets-may-require-reducing-meat-and-dairy-consumption.aspx Original article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10584-014-1104-5 ;


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No, GMOs won't harm your health - Mother Jones (2014)

No, GMOs won't harm your health - Mother Jones (2014) | Agricultural Research | Scoop.it

With historic drought battering California's produce and climate change expected to jeopardize the global food supply, there are few questions more important than what our agriculture system should look like in the future. And few agricultural issues are more politically charged than the debate over genetically modified organisms. Even as companies like Monsanto are genetically engineering plants to use less water and resist crop-destroying pests, activists are challenging the safety and sustainability of GM foods... 

 

Dr. Steven Novella, a neurologist at Yale University... is a prominent voice in the skeptical movement, a scientific movement that, as he describes it, focuses heavily on explaining the truth behind "common myths—things that people believe that aren't true... Almost everything I hear about [industrial agriculture] is a myth... It's such an emotional issue—a highly ideological and politicized issue—that what I find is that most of what people write and say and believe about it just fits into some narrative, some worldview. And it's not very factual or evidence-based." ... 

 

One myth concerns the novelty of GM foods. Many people think that modifying genes in our food is a 21st-century phenomenon, but... humans have been using selective breeding to create more desirable versions of plants and animals for thousands of years... Genetic modification... "is not the panacea, nor is it a menace; it's just one more tool that has to be used intelligently."

 

And there are even more questionable genetic modification practices that aren't subject to anywhere near the same scrutiny as GM foods... "mutation breeding," in which chemicals and radiation are used to increase the rate of plant mutations in order to produce favorable traits. "Over 2,000 plants that are the product of this mutation breeding have been released to the public in the last 100 years" ... 

 

Another important myth surrounding GM foods is that they are somehow unsafe for human consumption... But compared with crossbreeding or mutation breeding... genetic modification is "much more precise"—selecting only one gene or a part of a gene and inserting it into the target food... "To date," says Novella, "the reviews conclude pretty universally that there's just no health risk." Indeed, according to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the research surrounding GM food is "quite clear: crop improvement by the modern molecular techniques of biotechnology is safe."

 

What's more, GM foods are more tightly regulated than crops created with other modification methods and have to overcome more safety tests than their counterparts... "we've been doing this for decades now, and there have been tons of studies looking at the results of genetic modification" ... 

 

GM opponents often argue that the planting of GM foods is not a sustainable agricultural practice. But... that's the wrong way to look at it. "GM is not agriculture…it is a tool... The real question is how is it being used?" 

 

Novella points to a commonly used GM crop known as Bt corn, which... produces a pest-killing protein... the success of these GM crops can create perverse incentives to grow one type of plant exclusively. And just like with antibiotics, overuse of pest-resistant crops can lead to the creation of "superpests"—the agricultural counterpart of superbugs. But... the problem here isn't the GM crops themselves, but rather how they are used.

 

"There's nothing inherent to… Bt crops that says you have to use them in the worst possible way" ... Rather, if farmers mix Bt and non-Bt crops, "it becomes one powerful tool in a box of tools" that can help them increase profits in a sustainable way. "If you're just focusing on GM, you're missing the big picture, in that you have to look at farming as a practice, of which genetic modification is just one tool" ... 

 

Genetic modification... "is not the panacea, nor is it a menace; it's just one more tool that has to be used intelligently." So what does Novella think accounts for our distrust of genetic modification? He points to what he calls the "naturalistic fallacy... There's nothing inherently good or virtuous about the way things were in nature... And we've been altering them beyond recognition for thousands of years, anyway."

 

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/02/inquiring-minds-steven-novella-gmo

 


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Top 5 need-to-knows about Conservation Agriculture

Top 5 need-to-knows about Conservation Agriculture | Agricultural Research | Scoop.it
AckerbauHalle's insight:

30 Jul 2014 - In the face of changing weather driven by climate change and the increasing demand for food, Conservation Agriculture (CA) aims to achieve sustainable and profitable agriculture and improve farmers’ livelihoods. Here are five things you need to know.

1. CA observes three main principles that you should remember

Direct seeding involves growing crops without mechanical seedbed preparation and with minimal soil disturbancesince the harvest of the previous crop.A permanent soil cover is important to: protect the soil against the deleterious effects of exposure to rain and sun; provide the micro and macro organisms in the soil with a constant supply of "food"; and alter the microclimate in the soil for optimal growth and development of soil organisms, including plant roots.The rotation of crops is not only necessary to offer a diverse "diet" to the soil micro organisms, but as they root at different soil depths, they are capable of exploring different soil layers for nutrients.
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Food experts warn it could be farewell to the land of plenty - Telegraph

Food experts warn it could be farewell to the land of plenty - Telegraph | Agricultural Research | Scoop.it
Britain's production of its own food has dropped nearly 20 per cent in the past two decades. How can we stem the decline?
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Sustainable meat consumption: A quantitative analysis of nutritional intake, greenhouse gas emissions and land use from a Swedish perspective - Hallström &al (2014) - Food Pol

Sustainable meat consumption: A quantitative analysis of nutritional intake, greenhouse gas emissions and land use from a Swedish perspective - Hallström &al (2014) - Food Pol | Agricultural Research | Scoop.it

Food consumption is one of the most important drivers of environmental pressures. Adoption of healthy diets is suggested to be an option for less environmentally intensive food habits and improved public health. In particular, changes in meat consumption are believed to bring potential benefits.

 

Objective: To quantify the impact of changes in meat consumption on the dietary contribution of nutrients, GHG emissions and on land requirement. Scenario analysis is performed for three scenarios representing different variants of meat consumption in Sweden... The results are evaluated in relation to the recommended daily intake of nutrients, international climate goals and global capacity for sustainable expansion of agricultural land...

 

Meat consumption in line with nutritional guidelines, implying an approximate 25% reduction of Swedish average intake, reduces the contribution of total and saturated fat by 59–76%, energy, iron and zinc by about half and protein by one quarter. Restrictions in meat consumption are most critical for the intake of iron and zinc, whereas positive effects on public health are expected due to the reduced intake of saturated fat.

 

Aligning meat consumption with dietary guidelines reduces GHG emissions from meat production from 40% to approximately 15–25% of the long-term (2050) per capita budget of sustainable GHG emissions and the share of per capita available cropland from 50% to 20–30%.

 

This quantitative analysis suggests that beneficial synergies, in terms of public health, GHG emissions and land use pressure, can be provided by reducing current Swedish meat consumption.  

 

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodpol.2014.04.002

 


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The ‘super’ banana for healthy levels of vitamin A - WaPo (2014)

The ‘super’ banana for healthy levels of vitamin A - WaPo (2014) | Agricultural Research | Scoop.it

In half of the world’s countries, vitamin A deficiency is a scourge that leaves disease and death in its wake. Every year, it inflicts between 250,000 and 500,000 helpless and malnourished young people with early-life blindness. And in half of those cases, it also brings death... 

 

Scientists are now working to genetically engineer “super” bananas that are fortified with crucial alpha- and beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A... “Good science can make a massive difference here by enriching staple crops such as Ugandan bananas with pro-vitamin A and providing poor and subsistence-farming populations with nutritionally rewarding food.”

 

Some of the genetically modified cooking bananas are being sent to the United States for their first human trial; scientists aim to have them growing in Uganda by 2020... Lab tests in gerbils have been successful... But in order for the crops to be planted in Uganda, the country’s legislature has to approve a bill allowing genetically modified crops. It is currently in the committee phase...

 

“In West Africa farmers grow plantain bananas and the same technology could easily be transferred to that variety as well... This project has the potential to have a huge positive impact on staple food products across much of Africa and in so doing lift the health and well-being of countless millions of people over generations.”

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2014/06/17/the-super-banana-that-fights-for-truth-justice-and-healthy-levels-of-vitamin-a/

 


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Alexander J. Stein's curator insight, June 25, 6:39 PM

The title of the original article -- "The 'super' banana that fights for truth, justice and healthy levels of vitamin A" -- is yet another example of how journalists' hyperbole can be completely off track and, unfortunately, even do damage to a promising cause: Bananas rich in provitamin A can do a lot to improve levels of vitamin A, but how do they fight for truth and justice? Suggesting so much will only open the door to subsequent accusations that such crops are nothing but empty promises. 

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Syngenta seeks ‘emergency’ exemption to use banned insecticide on UK crops

Syngenta seeks ‘emergency’ exemption to use banned insecticide on UK crops | Agricultural Research | Scoop.it
If approved, up to one-third of UK oilseed rape crops could be treated with neonicotinoids despite a European ban (.@Syngenta seeks ‘emergency’ exemption to use banned insecticide on 186,000ha of UK crops
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Invasive harlequin ladybirds 'eating native British cousins'

Invasive harlequin ladybirds 'eating native British cousins' | Agricultural Research | Scoop.it
Study of DNA shows larger species is not just out-competing native ladybirds but preying on them too Continue reading...
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In France, urban agriculture and community co-op grows - Christian Science Monitor

In France, urban agriculture and community co-op grows - Christian Science Monitor | Agricultural Research | Scoop.it
Christian Science Monitor In France, urban agriculture and community co-op grows Christian Science Monitor In February 2013, he contacted a local group of activists who needed someone to start their urban agriculture project.
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Environmentalists as speculators: Greenpeace employee gambled donor millions - Spiegel Online (2014)

[Slightly edited machine translation]

 

"Slip up" at Greenpeace: A member of the finance department has made millions of losses through foreign exchange speculations, according to SPIEGEL information. The money came from donations. 

 

The environmental organization Greenpeace has been rocked by a financial scandal. An employee in the Greenpeace headquarters in Amsterdam lost a total of 3.8 million Euros (5.1 million USD) in currency transactions. According to SPIEGEL information the money came from donations that financially strong Greenpeace country organizations, such as the German one, had transferred to the headquarters in Holland. 

 

In future trading an employee of the finance department bet on sinking Euro exchange rates. However, things eventually turned out quite differently. The employee had committed a "serious misjudgement", and had been sacked meanwhile, said Mike Townsley of Greenpeace International.

 

Currently further investigation or going on, of how it could come to this loss of millions. As cause also organizational error in the internal control system would have been discovered. But these are now resolved, assured Townsley. At the moment the environmental organization rules out that the financial expert wanted to enrich himself. Also corruption was not part of it.

 

"We can only apologize to our members and hope they understand that our organization and our staff are not free of flaws," the Greenpeace spokesman adds. The loss was serious, but not threatening the organization's existence. The funds were intended for those national organizations that are still being expanded.

 

Current campaigns of the eco-activists are not endangered, says Townsley. In the last published Annual Report of 2012 Greenpeace International reported revenues of around 270 million Euros (366 millon USD), most of which donations of nearly three million supporters.

 

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=de&tl=en&u=http://www.spiegel.de/wirtschaft/soziales/greenpeace-mitarbeiter-verzockt-spender-millionen-a-975215.html

 


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Alexander J. Stein's curator insight, June 14, 3:39 PM

(i) "The loss [of 5.1 million US dollars] was serious, but not threatening the organization's existence." >> Quite impressive that such an amount seems to be little more than petty cash. 

 

(ii) Also quite interesting that seeking profits - moreover on financial markets - is OK if they do it themselves (even if in this case one employee had committed a "misjudgement")... 

 

(iii) "The funds were intended for those national organizations that are still being expanded." >> Such as the one in India? >> There the Indian "Intelligence Bureau has accused Greenpeace... of hurting economic progress by campaigning against power projects, mining and genetically modified food, the most serious charge yet against foreign-funded organisations... 'A significant number of Indian NGOs funded by donors based in US, UK, Germany and Netherlands have been noticed to be using people-centric issues to create an environment, which lends itself to stalling development projects,' the Intelligence Bureau said." 

http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/06/12/uk-india-projects-idINKBN0EN1DL20140612

 

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America’s Next Agricultural Revolution Will Happen Indoors

America’s Next Agricultural Revolution Will Happen Indoors | Agricultural Research | Scoop.it
With climate change wrecking havoc on the world’s crops, it’s time to consider other options. Warehouse farms might be the answer to the global food crisis.
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Zunehmende Kritik an Landwirtschaft heizt Strukturwandel an

Zunehmende Kritik an Landwirtschaft heizt Strukturwandel an | Agricultural Research | Scoop.it
Mit einer weiteren Beschleunigung des Strukturwandels in der Tierhaltung rechnet der Vorstandsvorsitzende des Bundesverbandes der gemeinnützigen Landgesellschaften (BLG), Dr. Willy Boß.
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The non-GM crop regime in the EU: How do Industries deal with this wicked problem? - Inghelbrecht &al (2014) - NJAS

In the European Union (EU), genetically modified (GM) crops are regarded as a socially-sensitive technology. At present, GM crops are rarely cultivated in the EU and non-genetically modified ingredients dominate the EU market.

 

However, most consumers are unaware of the fact that many genetically modified ingredients (GMI) are present in EU supermarkets in spite of this virtual ban on GM. For example, eggs, meat or milk derived from GM-fed animals are marketed without a GM label.

 

Moreover, the EU political landscape has failed to create a stable and predictable environment in which to either implement or reject GM crops and their applications. As such, the present non-GM crop regime in the EU presents a tricky and challenging environment for agribusiness companies to determine their GM business policy.

 

Few academic studies have analysed this industry perspective on the current EU non-GM crop regime. In this paper, we therefore analyse which discourses influence the GM business policy of agribusiness companies that are active on the EU market and how these discourses influence the decision-making process of several agricultural industry sectors on whether to include or exclude GMIs in products for the EU market.

 

The paper outlines three discourses that shape the discursive space of GM crop applications in the EU from an industry perspective, (i) GMIs as an agricultural payoff; (ii) GMIs as a marketing threat; and (iii) non-GM crops as a preset end goal.

 

The paper also discusses how these discourses influence the GM business decision-making process for several agricultural industry sectors, these being the agricultural biotech industry, the compound feed industry, the food manufacturing and marketing industries, the potato industry and the organic farming sector. Accordingly, our research classifies the present non-GM crop regime in the EU as a “wicked problem”, due to the high level of conflict, discord and complexity involved... 

 

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.njas.2014.02.002

 


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Land concentration responsible for scarcity of food

Land concentration responsible for scarcity of food | Agricultural Research | Scoop.it
KARACHI: Land concentration in a few hands is directly responsible for why a vast majority remains devoid of secure access to food. The state of malnutrition is intrinsically linked with land ownership.These were the conclusions drawn at a Dialogue “Food Security Interventions: A Dialogue on

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