Agriculture

Brazil unable to curb Amazon destruction
January 31, 2008 08:10 AM - Reuters

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil's government is unwilling and unable to halt destruction in the Amazon rainforest despite emergency measures it announced last week to curb rising deforestation, environmental experts say. High commodity prices and increased land use elsewhere in Brazil are driving ranchers and farmers deeper into the Amazon in search of cheap land, environmentalists say.

China's crops badly damaged by icy storms
January 30, 2008 06:01 AM - Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's Agriculture Ministry said on Wednesday that the unusually harsh winter had dealt a serious blow to the country's wheat and vegetable crops and warned that damage could rise because of persistent cold. The ministry said in a statement on its Web site that 103 million mu of farm crops had been hurt by the freak weather, which has plagued southern, central and eastern China over the past week.

Eco-Farm: Seeds of Ignorance: Investigative Journalist Reveals Serious Safety Concerns About GM Food
January 29, 2008 02:11 PM - , Organic Consumers Association

Note: For the next few days I'll be reporting from Eco-Farm, the annual conference held by the Ecological Farming Association of California. At Eco-Farm, some 1,400-1,500 organic farmers, Big Organic marketers, and sundry sustainable-ag enthusiasts pack into a rustic, beautiful seaside conference hall an hour-and-a-half south of San Francisco to talk farming amid the dunes.

U.N. aid chief worried by food inflation, weather
January 29, 2008 12:41 PM - Reuters

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Rising food prices and extreme weather are sparking more humanitarian disasters around the world, the United Nations' top official for emergency relief warned on Tuesday. Fourteen out of 15 U.N. "flash appeals" for help last year were a response to devastation caused by droughts, floods and hurricanes, U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes said.

As Supplies Dry Up, Growers Pass on Farming and Sell Water
January 25, 2008 09:43 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

The shortages this season among the most intense of the last decade are already shooting water prices skyward in many areas, and Los Angeles-area cities are begging for water and coaxing farmers to let their fields go to dust. "It just makes dollars and sense right now," said Bruce Rolen, a third-generation farmer in Northern California's lush Sacramento Valley. "There's more economic advantage to fallowing than raising a crop."

Seed-Savers and Greens Unite to Challenge Monsanto's Latest Cash Cow
January 24, 2008 02:38 PM - , Organic Consumers Association

For years, candy makers and other industrial food manufacturers refused to use genetically modified sugar, fearing a consumer backlash. As a result, Monsanto's Roundup Ready sugar beet -- designed to withstand heavy application of Roundup, Monsanto's herbicide -- has been dead in the water. (Sugar beets, grown in the Midwest and Northwest, account for half of U.S. sugar production; cane, grown mainly in Florida, provides the rest.)

First 100% organic, 'green' restaurant opens in NYC
January 24, 2008 12:39 PM - , Organic Consumers Association

Gunning for a national presence, New York City's first green- and organic-certified restaurant has opened its doors. Gusto Grilled Organics is a Greenwich Village eatery serving 100 percent, organic, Latin-inspired cuisine for eat-in, takeout and delivery.

Can crops be climate-proofed?
January 24, 2008 11:27 AM - , SciDevNet

Among the most worrying aspects of climate change is its effects on the world's food supply. The worst-case scenario is stark: Africa's Sahel region will produce fewer cereals, rice cultivation in Asia will be under threat, there will be fewer vegetables — with potatoes and beans potentially wiped out — and livestock and fisheries will be severely stressed.

Why are genebanks important?
January 23, 2008 09:01 AM - CGIAR

MEXICO CITY (23 January 2008)—At the end of January, more than 200,000 crop varieties from Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East—drawn from vast seed collections maintained by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)—will be shipped to a remote island near the Arctic Circle, where they will be stored in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV), a facility capable of preserving their vitality for thousands of years.

Beijing Olympic water scheme drains parched farmers
January 23, 2008 08:21 AM - Reuters

BAODING, China (Reuters) - Dusty villages far from China's capital are paying their own price for the government's plan to stage a postcard-perfect Olympic Games, enduring shrunken crops, drained wells and contention over lost land and homes. China is rushing to finish canals to pump 300 million cubic meters of "emergency" water to Beijing for its "green" Games, ensuring a lush, sparkling host city greets the world in August.

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