Agriculture

Climate change may trim corn yields
May 28, 2008 01:30 AM - Reuters

Warmer temperatures brought on by climate change could trim output of some U.S. crops like corn in coming decades, but increase yields from other crops like soybeans, government scientists said on Tuesday. U.S. corn output dips and rises from year-to-year but has risen overall as farmers use new seeds and fertilizers to maximize growth.

Market and Community Approaches to Food Crisis
May 26, 2008 09:12 AM - , Global Policy Innovations Program

The first quarter of this year saw food prices skyrocket, with the World Bank recording a 75 percent increase in its food price index since September 2006. The challenges for policymakers, however, extend beyond the current crisis. Since early 2002, food prices have risen by 140 percent, with the effect falling disproportionately on the poor. Meanwhile, a third of food bought in the United Kingdom is thrown away. There are fundamental problems of distribution and price stability that governments and NGOs must address if we are to repair food production and avoid further crises.

Conserve Water Through Food Efficiency, Report Says
May 23, 2008 07:59 AM - , Worldwatch Institute

If government, industry, and civil society worked together to improve efficiency, wasted food could be cut in half by 2025, the report says. Water conservation recommendations included advanced technologies to capture more rainwater for agriculture, incentives for consumers to waste less food, and benchmark standards for industry to reduce water use in the entire food chain.

Basic food crops dangerously vulnerable
May 22, 2008 08:51 AM - WWF

In the case of wheat, for instance, as a deadly new strain of Black Stem Rust devastates harvests across Africa and Arabia, and threatens the staple food supply of a billion people from Egypt to Pakistan, the areas where potentially crop and life-saving remnant wild wheat relatives grow are only minimally protected.

Oregano oil works as well as synthetic insecticides against beetles
May 22, 2008 08:28 AM - Society of Chemical Industry

New research in the Society of Chemical Industry’s Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture shows that oregano oil works as well as synthetic insecticides to combat infestation by a common beetle, Rhizoppertha dominica, found in stored cereals. Not only does oregano oil work as well as synthetic versions but it has none of the associated side effects of synthetic insecticides on the environment.

30 Agrochemical Products Banned in Nigeria After Deaths
May 20, 2008 08:27 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has banned the sale and supply of 30 different agrochemical products in the country. NAFDAC Director-General, Professor Dora Akunyili, explained in Abuja that the ban became necessary when it was discovered that the pesticides were causing food poisoning that had resulted in the death of many after they consumed food crops preserved with the chemicals.

Agri-biotech firms committing 'intellectual property grab'
May 19, 2008 09:05 AM - , SciDevNet

Some of the world's major agri-biotech companies are applying for hundreds of patents on genetically engineered 'climate crops', carrying out what amounts to an "intellectual property grab" in the lucrative market, according to a recent report. About 530 patents have been applied for worldwide, with a few dozen granted and hundreds pending. They include traits such as drought, flooding, high salt level, high temperatures and ultraviolet radiation — all of which endanger food security.

Global Call to Stop the Planting of Genetically Engineered Trees
May 16, 2008 09:13 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

Bonn, Germany--Organizations and scientists from around the world spoke today about their opposition to genetically engineered trees which will be negotiated at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity's Ninth Conference of the Parties (CBD COP-9) beginning next week in Bonn. They are demanding that governments at the UN agree to accept the proposal to suspend all releases of genetically engineered (GE) trees into the environment, due to their extreme ecological and social threats.

Climate change threatens French truffle
May 16, 2008 06:25 AM - Reuters

The black truffle, one of the most exclusive and expensive delicacies on the planet, is under threat from climate change. A mysterious species of underground fungi with reported aphrodisiac and therapeutic properties, the aromatic truffles are also highly fragile and cannot withstand more than three weeks without water.

U.S. Using Food Crisis to Boost Bio-Engineered Crops
May 15, 2008 09:04 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

The Bush administration has slipped a controversial ingredient into the $770 million aid package it recently proposed to ease the world food crisis, adding language that would promote the use of genetically modified crops in food-deprived countries. The value of genetically modified, or bio-engineered, food is an intensely disputed issue in the U.S. and in Europe, where many countries have banned foods made from genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

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