Jobs arise from ashes of Finland forestry
January 17, 2008 09:31 AM - Reuters
KUUSANKOSKI, Finland (Reuters) - When Finland's UPM-Kymmene bowed to tough market conditions and shut its Voikkaa paper plant two years ago, Raimo Loytty readily swapped a 30-year career in the mill for a stone mason's chisel. Along with 677 former co-workers, Loytty was among the first victims of thousands of layoffs by paper companies facing rising production costs, weak demand growth and overcapacity.
French minister says "non, merci" to cloned bifteck
January 17, 2008 08:24 AM - Reuters
PARIS (Reuters) - Americans may eat it if they want, but the agriculture minister of France said on Thursday that if offered a dish of cloned meat, he'd have to say "non." Asked if he would eat cloned foods, Michel Barnier told a radio interviewer: "No. You ask me a direct question, I reply no. There is no question of it for now."
World Bank Pledges to Save Trees... Then Helps Cut Down Amazon Forest.
January 16, 2008 09:20 AM - , Organic Consumers Association
The World Bank has emerged as one of the key backers behind an explosion of cattle ranching in the Amazon, which new research has identified as the greatest threat to the survival of the rainforest. Ranching has grown by half in the last three years, driven by new industrial slaughterhouses which are being constructed in the Amazon basin with the help of the World Bank. The revelation flies in the face of claims from the bank that it is funding efforts to halt deforestation and reduce the massive greenhouse gas emissions it causes.
More of U.S. grain crop to be consumed by family car
January 16, 2008 06:52 AM - Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Almost a third of the U.S. grain crop next year may be diverted from the family dinner table to the family car as fuel, putting upward pressure on food prices, a leading expert warned on Tuesday. Grain prices are near record levels as the United States produces more ethanol, now made mostly from corn, to blend with gasoline and stretch available motor fuel supplies.
Final U.S. decision expected on food from clones
January 15, 2008 10:11 AM - Reuters
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to make a final ruling on Tuesday that food from cloned animals and their offspring is as safe as any other, opening the door to the controversial technology in the U.S. food supply. The FDA will brief reporters at 12 noon EST on the final risk assessment on animal clones.
Sierra Leone bans timber exports
January 14, 2008 10:22 AM - Reuters
Sierra Leone's government has banned the exportation of timber after "indiscriminate destruction" by Chinese and other foreign businessmen, a senior official said on Monday. Hassan Mohammed, deputy director of the forestry ministry, said Chinese loggers had wreaked havoc in the savannahs of northern Sierra Leone by chopping down fire-resistant trees for export.
Will Current Organic Standards Save us from GMO Contamination?
January 14, 2008 09:34 AM - , Organic Consumers Association
Widespread development and use of organic standards began in the 1980's to safeguard and systematize an alternative way (organic) of agriculture and handling food. Among a detailed list of prohibited substances in organic systems are chemical pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers. Because the organic system recognized from the start that it would likely remain a small component of agriculture, and that contamination would inevitably happen through background pollution such as polluted water, air and drift, it proposed a system based on a "practice standard," rather than on measuring the purity of an end product.
Biofuel impact on farm prices overplayed
January 14, 2008 08:42 AM - Reuters
The recent price rally in farm commodities such as grains, oilseeds and sugar beet can be attributed partly to higher biofuel demand but their share of the blame has been exaggerated, a top official of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Loek Boonekamp, a division head in the Agro-food Trade and Markets Division at the Paris-based OECD, said the surge in farm product prices -- with cereals more than doubling last year -- would have happened even without the rise in biofuel production.
Biotech companies race for drought-tolerant crops
January 14, 2008 05:21 AM - Reuters
Outside the headquarters of Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc, the pavement is iced over and workers arriving for the day are bundled up against the cold. But inside a laboratory, a warm, man-made drought is in force, curling the leaves of rows of fledgling corn plants as million-dollar machines and scientists in white coats monitor their distress.
Asian biodiesel plants sit idle as costs soar
January 14, 2008 04:37 AM - Reuters
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - For many of southeast Asia's struggling biofuel makers, the global debate over using crops for food or as transport fuel is irrelevant -- a surge in palm oil prices has brought the industry to a standstill. Even oil prices at $100 a barrel aren't helping companies who have invested tens of millions of dollars into plants that convert Indonesian or Malaysian palm oil into near zero-pollution diesel -- at a cost some 30 percent higher than regular diesel.