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.

Soaring Soybean Prices Stir Anger Among Poor
January 21, 2008 09:05 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

During the ancient Zhou dynasty, soyabeans were among China's five sacred grains. Thousands of years later soyabeans maintain their importance to the Chinese and most other Asians, but they have recently triggered much more down-to-earth preoccupations.

Adjustments to Agriculture May Help Mitigate Global Warming
January 19, 2008 09:57 AM - , Worldwatch Institute

A recent report from Greenpeace details the direct and indirect effects of agriculture on climate change and suggests how the sector can move from being a major greenhouse gas emitter to being a carbon sink. “As a key contributor to climate change, the environmental impact of industrial farming has reached critical levels,” said Jan van Aken, Greenpeace Sustainable Agriculture Campaigner. “Governments must support a farming future that works with nature, not against it.”

Forests and carbon capture keys to climate: Norway's PM
January 18, 2008 04:44 PM - Reuters

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Protecting forests and burying greenhouse gases are key ways of slowing world climate change, Norway's prime minister said on Friday a day after the Nordic nation set a stiff 2030 goal of becoming "carbon neutral."

Scientists find way to increase corn's vitamin A
January 18, 2008 08:57 AM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. scientists have developed a way to breed corn that can boost the vitamin A it gives people who eat it -- a potentially important advance for regions of the world burdened by vitamin A deficiencies. Vitamin A deficiency is an important cause of eye disease and other health problems in developing countries.

USDA Recommends That Food From Clones Stay Off the Market
January 17, 2008 10:01 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

The U.S. Department of Agriculture yesterday asked U.S. farmers to keep their cloned animals off the market indefinitely even as Food and Drug Administration officials announced that food from cloned livestock is safe to eat. Bruce I. Knight, the USDA's undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs, requested an ongoing "voluntary moratorium" to buy time for "an acceptance process" that Knight said consumers in the United States and abroad will need, "given the emotional nature of this issue."

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."

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