organic tagged posts

European Union: Please make up your mind on organic, for the sake of the environment

Derek 's quote on organic farming practicesBy Gary Frewin

Is the practice of organic farming supposed to be about eco-farming at its best or is it supposed to be all natural? It’s important to know because it cannot be both at the same time. Such is the confusion on this question today that everybody seems to have a different answer. Even the European Union (EU) has defined organic in radically different ways depending where you look, for example the Organic Legislation 2007 says this:

1) Organic production is an overall system of farm management and food production that combines best environmental practices […] and a production method in line with the preference of certain consumers for products produced using natural substances and processes.

The appeal to nature should be obvious to most of you...

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EU hampers African food innovations

EU policies are holding African food innovations back, especially in maize crops, banana and coffee crops.

EU policies are holding African food innovations back, especially in maize crops, banana and coffee crops.

Over the last twenty years Africa’s share of world food exports has dropped from 11% to under 3% due in part to current European Union (EU) policies. Now Thailand exports nearly as much food as all of sub-Saharan Africa according to Calestous Juma, a professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, whose views are published on CapX, a website aggregating stories on popular capitalism around politics, economics, markets and ideas.

To achieve its technological and food export objectives, Africa needs to partner with its historical trading partners such as the United Kingdom...

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Is new Slate magazine story on misleading GMO war a game changer?

“They’ll always want more studies. They call themselves skeptics. But when you cling to an unsubstantiated belief, even after two decades of research and experience, that’s not skepticism. It’s dogma.”

This is an excerpt from a feature story published last week in the online current affairs and culture magazine Slate on the hypocrisy and immoral tactics used by anti-GMO activists on the dangers of genetically modified organisms. The story, called an Unhealthy Fixation, has been making a storm on social media. It puts a high-resolution magnifying glass on the blatant fear mongering, error and fraud tactics uses by activists.

For example, while anti-GMO zealots paradoxically communicate the message that Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) bacteria crops are hazardous, they encourage you t...

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Of Greens, Greenpeace and Glyphosate

By Brandon Mitchener

Monsanto’s commitment to produce products that help farmers nourish our growing world by making a balanced diet more accessible to people everywhere is the same this week as before. European governments’ commitment to protect consumers and the environment from harm is still there. Farmers and home gardeners still think glyphosate-based weed killers are an important part of their toolkits, and the best way of controlling difficult-to-control weeds.

Nevertheless, the past week has seen renewed attacks on glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup® weed killer and generic equivalents, from German Greens and Greenpeace...

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Innovation, what’s that all about?

 “I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.”

— John Cage

Well said, John Cage. John Milton Cage Jr, composer, music theorist, writer, and artist, was someone who believed in new ideas. He revolutionised the way the 20th century perceived music. That’s great you may say, but why does Monsanto care and perhaps more specifically, why should you care? We are both talking about innovation.

On Feb. 6, the Food Innovation Summit in Brussels brought together policy makers, industry and food experts to debate the issues facing European agriculture and food today and how to use innovation to help solve them. As we learned in Davos a couple of weeks ago (you can read our blog post on Davos here), food security and climate change are two of th...

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Broadening the conversation

where-seeds-come-fromWhen many people think of Monsanto, if they’ve heard of us at all, they think ”GMO.” Globally that’s probably not far from the mark. Genetically modified organisms are an important part of our business, and an important part of farmers’ toolkits worldwide. But GMOs are just one of a broad range of solutions that Monsanto offers farmers to help produce more, better and more affordable food more efficiently.

In Europe, our second biggest business sales region globally, traditional, or non-GM agriculture represents more than 99.5 percent of our business...

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Calls for innovation grow louder in the UK

Big_ben_closeupWhilst the European Parliament last week voted to endorse a proposal that would allow European governments to restrict or prohibit cultivation of safe genetically modified (GM) crops, calls to allow GM crops to be cultivated in the UK–conversely–have been gaining momentum.

Earlier this month, two senior UK politicians publicly discussed their views on the benefits of GMO cultivation. At the UK’s annual Oxford Farming Conference, The Right Hon. Liz Truss, MP, the UK’s Environment Secretary, and Lord Krebs, the UK government’s advisor on climate change adaptation, both spoke out to support the scientific facts on why growing GM crops is actually a good thing–for farmers, the climate and a growing population. That is quite the list of reasons to support cultivation…

In her speech to ...

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EFSA slams France — again — for banning MON810 — again

In a continent where populist, antediluvian views about genetically modified (GM) seeds and foods seem to dominate headlines, it is always reassuring that at least the serious scientists agree on their safety.

Last week, the European Food Safety Authority, which is normally independent of political interference (despite the best attempts of certain member states, including France, to meddle with its opinions), declared that France’s latest ban on Monsanto’s MON810 maize was yet another populist, protectionist reflex. Mind you, EFSA can never say that directly. Its opinions are always very carefully worded, such as the latest finding that “based on the documentation submitted by France, there is no specific scientific evidence, in terms of risk to human and animal health or the environmen...

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What is sustainable agriculture?

MONS09_1729 by Brandon Mitchener

What is sustainable agriculture? If you listen to certain organic groups, it is only agriculture that shuns all chemical pesticides and fertilizers. According to textbooks used in French high schools, sustainable agriculture (l’agriculture durable) is officially taught as something that stands in opposition to intensive agriculture (l’agriculture productiviste), which makes it sound as if anything efficient is by definition unsustainable.

Let’s do a reality-check. Would you consider agriculture more sustainable if it:

1.Needs less land, or more land, per unit of output?
2.Needs less water, or more?
3.Needs less energy, or more?
4.Needs less tillage (ploughing), or more?
5.Results in less waste, or more?
6.Results in more stable yields, or less stable yields?
7...
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Myth #4: Monsanto opposes GM food labeling

False. Monsanto fully supports voluntary marketing labels—such as the “organic” labelling that already exists in most countries—for consumers who want to have a choice of foods that don’t contain GM ingredients.

Labelling was not mandatory in the United Kingdom when we ran an ad to support the voluntary effort of retailers to provide information they believed would be of interest to their customers.

We do oppose mandatory labelling of products with GM ingredients in the absence of any demonstrated risks. This infographic illustrates how mandatory labelling would be twisted to imply that food products containing GM ingredients are somehow inferior to their conventional or organic counterparts–which is untrue.

Proponents of labelling initiatives in the United States today are misle...

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