Monsanto giving up in Europe


Monsanto “announced Thursday that it was withdrawing eight of its nine applications in the European Union to allow it to grow genetically modified crops there.”

They blame “political obstructionism” for Europe’s delay in approving their applications to grow GMO crops.

Currently there is only one strand of corn allowed to grow in Europe and 6 countries in Europe ban the cultivation of GM crops.

Monsanto says they plan to focus on conventional crops in Europe, instead of GM crops.

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Hawaii Pushes for Labeling


For decades, GMO corporations have been growing and testing GM crops in Hawaii. The copious amounts of sunshine and rainfall in its year-round growing climate, in addition to its isolation, make it an ideal place to grow GM crops. However, Hawaiian’s are now concerned about the health and environmental impacts of pesticide use that comes with cultivating GM crops, and are pushing for regulating GMOs.

Hawaii County Bill 79, would “prohibit the propagation, cultivation, raising, growing, sale and distribution of transgenic organisms” on the island of Hawaii, aka the Big Island. The bill will be debated at a hearing today of the county council’s public safety committee.

And Kauai County Council Bill 2491, introduced last week, would impose a moratorium on the experimental use and commercial production of GMOs until an environmental impact study is completed. The legislation would also create new permitting requirements and procedures for growing such crops after the study is complete, including rules on the use of chemicals.”

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GMOs in Uganda: More Beneficial?


Recently, Uganda has been considering a bill to allow GM crops. Because roughly 80% of Ugandans grow at least part of their own food, GM crops could benefit them more than your average American, who rely entirely on the supermarket.

Bananas are an essential food for Ugandans – even more important that wheat. In some regions, for the past decade, bacterial wilt disease has cut banana yields by 30% to 50%. There are no chemicals or pesticides to end the disease either. However, at the National Agricultural Research Organization in Uganda, scientists put a pepper gene into the plant and made a banana that is resistant to the bacteria. They want to give away the GM banana for free to millions of Ugandans, but currently it is not legal to grow GMOs in Uganda. Until the government passes a GMO law, this crop can’t be utilized.

There is also a virus-resistant cassava, which is a starchy tuber crop that is resistant to drought, poor soils and climate change. The hardiness of this crop makes it important in protecting families from famine.

Bananas and cassava can grow from clippings, so there is little worry about private corporations controlling seed supplies for them. But there is more worry about other GM crops that do have seeds because that would give power to someone to control the seeds. Raised prices, if a company owned GM seeds, are not something farmers can afford. There are also worries about introducing the use of pesticides (since many grow organically) affecting other populations (like bees and fish).

What do you think? Could GMOs help Ugandans fight hunger?

Read the original story on NPR.