Today in AgBioView: July 4, 2003:
* Re: EU soy patent
* Unwarranted Jubilation
* A reply to Dave Wood
* US, Argentina opposes EU on GM Food
* ASA: Frustrated by EU Biotech Rules
* NFPA Says EU Labeling and Traceability Legislation “Would Create New
* GEAC: Seeds of trouble
* MCGLOUGHLIN: AG-BIOTECH FOR DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
* GM POTATO TO REDUCE FUNGICIDE COST IN EUROPE
* INNOVATIVE BIOTECH POLICY FOR AFRICA
* BIOTECH ADOPTION INCREASES IN US
* INDIA-US BIOTECH PARTNERSHIP
* IITA TO WORK ON CASSAVA MOSAIC DISEASE
Date: Thu, 03 Jul 2003 15:45:24 -0300
From: "Bob MacGregor"
Subject: Re: EU soy patent
I'd like some clarification from a knowledgeable AgBioView correspondent
concerning the recent GM soybean patent decision in Europe. Since the
decision applies to an application filed in 1994, does this mean that in
ten years ALL GM soybeans will be released from patent protection in the
EU? If this is the case, what are the implications for future development
of GM soy in the EU?
Date: Thu, 03 Jul 2003 12:30:03 -0500
From: "Andrew Apel"
Subject: Unwarranted Jubilation
Colleagues and friends,
The mainstream press is reporting that Europe's new and stricter set of
restrictions on GM crops and the food and feed made from them heralds an
end to restrictions by its multinational trade bloc. It makes no sense to
claim that more restrictions mean fewer restrictions, and there remains a
simple fact: the legislation does not repeal Europe's moratorium, nor does
it change the voting structure that allows a minority of European
countries to refuse registration for new GM products. France and its
allies, which have imposed the moratorium, have never said that their view
of genetic engineering would suddenly become fact-based if GM products all
became labeled and traced. The new legislation does only one thing: it
more rigidly codifies Europe's protectionism.
Date: July 4, 2003
From: Jerry Cayford
Subject: A reply to Dave Wood, AgBioView, June 25, 2003;
Dave: I am not trying to present an argument at all. I am trying to give
the readers of AgBioView a different picture of what is going on in the
biotech debate. This picture is easily checked by reading the biotech
critics, such as ETC Group, Oxfam, Third World Network, or Institute for
Agriculture and Trade Policy. I am trying to get supporters of
biotechnology to stop reading just media stories about Greenpeace and
listening just to rumors passed around among themselves. If biotech
supporters knew what actually upsets their critics, they could engage the
issues that matter, instead of just carping about how stupid or crazy the
other side is.
Philosophers observe a principle called the "principle of charity." It is
not about being nice, but about how to select the right interpretation
from the many possible interpretations of any statement. Basically, it
says that if one interpretation makes the speaker out to be an idiot, and
another makes sense, choose the sensible one; it is probably what the
speaker intended. For example, what does this mean?: "RAFI is not
fundamentally opposed to biotechnology, but we have profound concerns
about the way it is being foisted upon the world.... For RAFI, the
fundamental issue is control." One interpretation is that RAFI is not
opposed to biotechnology itself, but is worried about corporate control of
the food supply. A second interpretation is that RAFI really is against
the technology, for lunatic reasons, but they craftily pretend not to be
in order to hide their lunacy, and they throw in the irrelevant issue of
control as a smoke-screen because it sounds reasonable. The principle of
charity says you should pick the first interpretation as most likely
correct. But you, Dave, insist on the second.
You claim to "unwrap [my] layers of careful packaging" and find a hidden
philosophy of "patronizing, neo-colonial, economically inefficient
control-freakery." The key step is claiming that biotech critics (and I)
want to tell farmers in developing countries what to do. Nowhere in
anything I have written is there even a whisper of that idea. Then,
through a long argument that is manifestly inaccurate and unfair (and too
convoluted to rebut sentence-by sentence), you arrive at the suggestion
(couched in a convoluted conditional) that my "attack on multinationals
and patents is a smoke-screen: your real target is GM itself, and you must
say so." Again, not a whisper of that is anywhere in my work (the
"layers" of which you never actually "unwrap").
You repeatedly refer to "anti-technology-transfer antics" and attempts to
tell farmers they must "not buy value-added seed technology." And you
challenge me to put my money where my mouth is: "Charity begins at home.
If you don't like the social justice of the US (or European) patent
system, work through your democracy to improve it." I am doing so, and we
have recently posted a discussion paper called "The U.S. Patent System and
Developing Country Access to Biotechnology: Does the Balance Need
Adjusting?" (http://www.rff.org/intersections/food.htm). As you will see
in that paper, the point is not to prevent technology transfer - quite the
opposite - but to address the problems caused by the patent strings
attached to the transfer. This is no more blocking farmer choice than is
someone who charges a theater chain with price-gouging trying to control
what movies people see.
On another disagreement, I am not trying to prove that utility patents
caused the rapid concentration of the seed industry. I don't need to. I
am only claiming that critics of biotechnology THINK that utility patents
on plants caused that concentration, and that they are alarmed by it.
Again, this claim is easily verified by looking at the websites of any of
the groups listed above, or many others. You may want to argue that they
are wrong. But then you are arguing not against GM critics (or me) but
against the experts. I have already pointed you to USDA's Economic
Research Service, and any number of other papers by academic economists
make the same point: utility patents have been at least an important
factor in the concentration of the seed industry and quite possibly the
dominant factor. You do your readers a disservice by implying that this
idea is mine, or is in any way controversial or eccentric. It is not.
For you to suggest that the seed industry concentration that has followed
on utility patents for biotechnology was not really caused by that
patenting is no more legitimate than for tobacco industry executives to
insist the cancer that follows on cigarettes is not caused by them. They
too accused their critics of making the "post hoc ergo propter hoc"
logical error of mistaking a coincidence for a cause, of thinking the
cock's crowing makes the sun rise. It is not me who is making that error
but you who is imagining that because causality cannot be directly
observed it can be dismissed as undetectable.
As for showing that patents can threaten developing country food security
(I never said they threaten US food security), this letter is already too
long. See countless articles by critics, or the IPR Commission report
The biotech critics' concerns about corporate control of the food supply
might be overblown. They might even be wrong. But they are substantial
and plausible and deserve to be addressed. But you insist that they are
so transparently false that they must be insincere, a smoke-screen hiding
the secret agenda of opposing GM itself. Why? I suggest it is because
you are writing for an audience of plant scientists, who may not know much
about politics or economics or law, but know one thing for sure: this is a
darn good technology. If you can convince them that the critics are just
ignorantly opposing the technology itself, you can stop them from
seriously asking, "What is it about our work on this wonderful technology
that upsets people?"
US, Argentina opposes EU on GM Food
US and Argentina have vehemently criticized the new European Union rules
on labelling and traceability of genetically modified organisms. US
authorities are not pleased with the new regulations as it is both
“commercially impossible and not scientifically justified.” They feel that
“the remedy for the problem is just as bad if not worse than the problem
Meanwhile, Argentina, one of the world’s main grain exporters, has also
registered its disgust against new rules saying that the new rules are not
justifiable. The country feels that it is inconsistent from a technical
point of view, unjustified and heaps huge damage on Argentina in terms of
commerce and productivity."
But the mood in EU is upbeat about the new rules. People from different
facets of life are welcoming the decision. They feel that it is the
commercial concerns of US and Argentina that prompt these countries to
oppose these regulations. They point out recent figures formulated by U.S.
farmers that estimate a loss of about $ 300 million a year on corn alone
due to European restrictions. By ensuring that GMOs can be traced at all
stages in the production and marketing chain, EU now provide a robust
safeguard system and the foundation for a comprehensive labelling system.
EU Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner David Byrne have commented
"consumers will also have a clear choice of products to buy as GM food
will now be clearly labelled. For the first time farmers will see labels
on GM-feed. Europe will now have a comprehensive and transparent system of
authorisation and labelling that can only enhance business and consumer
The new legislation requires products containing more than 0.9% GM
material to be labeled “this product is produced from GMOs.” Under the new
law GMOs will be carefully traced “from farm to fork”. The new rules are
expected to pave the way for a lifting of the EU’s unofficial moratorium
ASA: Frustrated by EU Biotech Rules
July 3, 2003
by Julianne Johnston
The American Soybean Association (ASA) expressed frustration the European
Union (EU) has decided to adopt new regulations on mandatory traceability
and mandatory labeling of biotech or biotech-derived products that will
further restrict access for U.S. soybeans and soybean products while
negatively impacting EU consumers.
"It is a sad day for the world when European politicians decide they know
more than the scientific studies about food safety," said ASA First Vice
President Ron Heck. "These new rules are highly discriminatory and are so
commercially infeasible that food manufacturers wanting to market their
products in the EU will inevitably continue the trend to reformulate their
products to remove the biotech ingredients from their products rather than
be stigmatized by a biotech label."
More than seven years ago, governments in Europe and in more than 30 other
countries evaluated and then declared that soybeans grown from
biotech-enhanced seeds are safe for human and animal consumption, and safe
for the environment as well. During all this time, literally billions of
people have eaten products that contain biotech soybean ingredients.
Scientific studies have repeated confirmed the safety of these biotech
soybean products. Now the EU intends to put labels on products made from
soybeans that will give consumers the false impression that there is some
increased risk associated with eating these products.
"The EU claims that these new rules will somehow restore consumer
confidence and allow consumers to choose what they eat," Heck said. "To
appreciate the hypocrisy in that statement, one only need understand that
major food manufacturers have already stated publicly that they will not
put 'GMO warning labels' on their products. How will these rules help give
European consumers a 'right to choose' when the products containing
biotech ingredients are eliminated from store shelves?
While the EU is discriminating against biotech products imported from the
United States and other countries, the same rules do not extend to biotech
processing aids, such as enzymes, amino acids, and vitamins widely used in
EU food production, says ASA. Nearly all the manufacturers of these
biotech processing aids are European companies.
"The EU is perpetrating a fraud on consumers," Heck said. "Just when
consumers think they can avoid a technology they don't understand, their
own food companies will be permitted to use all kinds of genetically
engineered materials in products like cheese and beer without any GMO
labeling requirements whatsoever."
Biotech-enhanced soybeans are widely planted in the United States,
Argentina and Brazil. Together, these three countries represent 90 percent
of the world's soybean export trade. Compliance with the new traceability
regulations by exporters and food processors will be costly, onerous, and
unworkable given the realities of bulk commodity production, marketing,
transport, and food processing, says the group.
The new rules will require labeling for products such as soybean oil
"derived" from biotech soybeans even though no modified DNA or protein can
be detected in refined soybean oil. This is because it is impossible to
scientifically determine if such oil is of "biotech origin" or not. ASA
believes that such process-based labeling could lead to massive fraud, and
inevitably, again undermine public confidence in the EU food regulatory
Many Europeans also claim to be concerned about the environment, yet these
new rules discriminate against biotech products that have allowed farmers
to reduce the amount of insecticides and pesticides applied to their
fields, and use of products that biodegrade more quickly. According to the
National Center for Food & Agriculture Policy, eight biotech cultivars
adopted by U.S. growers reduced pesticide use by 46 million pounds in
Europeans also say they are concerned about conservation, yet these new
rules are jeopardizing farmer access to technologies that allow reduced
tillage practices in soybeans, which saved 247 million tons of
irreplaceable U.S. topsoil during 2000, and reduced the number of times
U.S. farmers had to run equipment over their fields, saving 234 million
gallons of fuel.
"Europeans say they are concerned about food safety yet they are allowing
activist groups to determine what they eat rather than listening to the
clinical evaluations from food safety experts," Heck said.
The EU has already replaced most of its biotech corn imports with
traditional varieties that are more susceptible to mycotoxins. Under
certain weather conditions, insect chewing damage in corn allows a fungus
to grow and produce small amounts of chemical compounds known as
mycotoxins. Such mycotoxins can be very detrimental to human and animal
health, but research has proven that Bt corn controls the chewing insects
so well that mycotoxin production is virtually eliminated in Bt corn
Weed control is generally much more effective in biotech-enhanced crop
varieties, points out ASA. This greatly reduces the amount of foreign
plant materials and noxious weed seeds mixed in with the harvested crops,
"Europeans are being mislead into believing they will have a safer food
supply, when in fact, these new rules will lead to a dramatic decrease in
food safety," Heck said. "In the end, the EU's new rules will lead to
greater reliance on conventional and EU-grown crops, which means more
pesticide use, greater environmental impact, less conservation of topsoil
and fuel, and overall decreased food safety."
NFPA Says EU Labeling and Traceability Legislation “Would Create New Trade
-- Requirements Would be “Onerous for Food Companies, While Providing No
Consumer Benefit,” NFPA Warns
Contact: Timothy Willard (202/637-8060)
Libby Mikesell (202/639-5919)
July 3, 2003
(Washington, D.C.) – In response to legislation passed on July 2 by the
European Parliament establishing expanded requirements for labeling foods
and feeds that contain genetically modified ingredients, Dr. Jeffrey
Barach, Vice President of Special Projects for the National Food
Processors Association (NFPA), made the following comments:
“This legislation is being promoted as necessary to end a five-year EU
moratorium on the introduction of new products of agricultural
biotechnology. However, it also creates new labeling requirements for all
foods and feeds sourced from genetically modified plants, as well as
labeling for non-biotech foods that contain more than 0.9. percent
genetically modified material. These new requirements will be burdensome
for food companies, and are likely to be seen as ‘warning labels’ by
European consumers. In essence, such labeling requirements ensure that
these products are unlikely to enter the European market, thereby actually
denying consumer access to the products of agricultural biotechnology.
“The effect of such labels would be to create a new barrier to the
international trade in food and food products. The legislation also places
cumbersome and expensive requirements on growers, processors, and
importers of biotech foods to trace the source of the products or
ingredients they use.
“NFPA does not support ‘process-based’ labeling, such as that required in
the European Parliament’s legislation. Mandatory labeling should be based
on the composition, intended use, and health and safety characteristics of
a food product, not on the ‘genetic process’ from which it was derived.
“While NFPA supports the European Parliament’s stated intention of ending
the moratorium on approvals of biotechnology-derived products, these new
labeling and traceability requirements would be onerous for food
producers, while providing no safety benefits to consumers. We will urge
the EU to reconsider these new requirements, so that a new and onerous
barrier to trade is not established.”
GEAC: Seeds of trouble
July 3, 2003
THE Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) — the inter-ministerial
body that presides over the entry of genetically modified seeds — is
creating, at each of its meetings, new webs in which it is and getting
more and more entangled. It may be best for the Centre to mercy kill the
Committee and create a new organ that can validly deliberate on all the
social, economic, environmental, agricultural and genetic issues involved.
At its recent meeting, the GEAC gave green signal to RASI Seeds Company to
produce Bt cottonseed on one lakh hectare for kharif 2004. Nothing wrong
about it. Till date, the only seed producer that had the GEAC approval was
Mahyco. Now there is one more. It does not matter that the basic gene is
the same — CRY1AC.
Then, suddenly, the GEAC gave to itself a much larger mandate. Now it has
arrogated to itself the powers to determine whether the genetically
modified organisms (GMOs) are economically viable or not. As a follow up
on this decision, it decided to include an agro-economist in one of its
Clearly, he would be a fairly junior agro-economist who will have the last
word in deciding if the produce from GM seeds is profitable or not.
This action of the GEAC raises a number of questions. The farmers'
movement in the country has taken the position that the GEAC's job should
be limited to the clearance of the specific gene in the light of
environmental and other hazards; that once it is established that there is
no significant risk from a gene to the nation's food security, public
health and morality, it should be cleared for being incorporated into a
large variety of vehicle seeds that suit the various agro-climatic
The vehicle seed may, if necessary, be approved by Ministry of Agriculture
after scrutinising the germinating properties of the seed and requirement
of inputs so that the farmers can be advised about the right package of
technology to go with the GM vehicle seed.
The Centre is not entirely unconcerned with the economic profitability or
otherwise of the new seed. But its connection comes at another level
Once a new seed gets established and there is a sizeable arrival of the
final product in the market, the Commission for Agricultural Costs and
Prices (CACP) will make studies and give recommendations on the Minimum
Support Price (MSP) for a decision by the Cabinet.
The CACP frowns on uneconomic seeds by recommending an MSP in such a way
that the uneconomic seeds, inefficient technologies and wasteful practices
go out of the market.
What the GEAC is attempting to do appears like the trick of the camel and
the Arab's tent. It has the powers to approve not only the genes but also
the vehicle hybrid seeds. It would appear tobe moving to take over the
powers of the CACP in respect of price fixation of the Bt cotton.
The GEAC may have blundered in yet another direction too.. The question is
once a gene has been examined, had field trials and finally cleared for
multiplication with reference to one hybrid variety, is it necessary to
follow the whole long procedure of tests and trials for another hybrid
variety containing the same gene.
The GEAC has concluded that the RASI Seeds Company does not require any
further tests and trials because the gene contained therein is the same
old CRY1AC.The experience of the season past shows that the position of
the GEAC is erroneous.
The three approved Mahyco varieties — Bt MECH12, Bt MECH162 and BtMECH184
— and one unapproved — Navbharat151 — that are known to contain the same
CRY1AC gene have thrown upwidely divergent performances and results. The
hybrid variety chosen for lodging the gene has its own traits.
Some of them may remain dormant but find _expression only in special
That is why the three approved varieties of genetically modified Mahyco
seeds and one unapproved one have shown substantially different results
though they contain the same guest gene.
The final outcome in the field, from the point of view of a farmer, will
depend on not only the one modified gene but also all the other genes of
the vehicle hybrid seeds as also diverse environments that might trigger
If the GEAC now concedes that no fresh tests are required for examination
of hybrids containing an already tested and permitted gene it is admitting
that its transgression into approval of hybrids was uncalled for right
from the day one and that it ought to limit itself to approving just the
The bungling on the part of the GEAC has now created a very serious
problem. In Gujarat, the number of illicit seeds that are claimed to be
genetically modified is multiplying by the hour. Understandably, Monsanto
and Mahyco — the original title-holders to CRY1AC — are worried.
Apart from the fact that the illicit competition could hit them where it
hurts most — in the pocket book, they are seriously worried that this
plethora of spurious Bt seeds will be major handicap in the proper entry
and promotion of biotechnology in India.
The new chairman of the GEAC has written to the chief secretary of Gujarat
to search and send various samples of Bt seeds in the market to the
Central Institute of Cotton Research, Nagpur, for examination. It is also
reported that an instrument has been evolved that can distinguish between
the approved Bt plants and the unapproved ones.
The question is, will it solve the problem. It might be used more for
eliminating the official seeds than the other way round. The Gujarat
government has clearly conveyed its inability to handle the task of
suppressing the illegitimate Bt cotton production.
Mr Kashiram Rana, Minister of Textiles, has also clearly stated that the
task is impossible. Even if the State is able to control the farmers' ire,
the Chief Minister, Mr Narendra Modi and the ruling NDA alliance at the
Centre would have lost all the political advantage they gained till the
last election. The GEAC appears to have walked into a crisis of its own
MCGLOUGHLIN: AG-BIOTECH FOR DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
July 3, 2003
"Biotechnology is one tool which has a great impact on plant agriculture
in the developing world. Let us not throw away the technology merely
because of philosophical issues," says Dr. Martina Newell-McGloughlin,
Director of the University of California System wide Biotechnology
Research and Education Program. Speaking before a multi-sectoral audience
in Manila, Philippines, she shared her insights on "Agricultural
biotechnology: Benefits and questions today, potential and challenges
McGloughlin noted that the tools of biotechnology can be used to improve
texture, color, flavor, growing season, stress tolerance, yield,
geographical distribution, disease resistance, shelf-life and other
properties of production crops. "The ability to manipulate plant
nutritional content heralds an exciting new era and has the potential to
directly benefit consumers and have a positive impact in developing
countries," she added. Examples of GM crops that have great potential for
these countries include Bt corn which reduces toxic fungi, GM rice with
increased beta carotene, delayed ripened fruits like papaya and mango, and
The internationally recognized authority on biotechnology said that the
belief that genetically modified foods pose new or greater dangers to the
environment or human health are "neither supported by the weight of
scientific research nor by a great majority of the scientific community.
Millions of people have already eaten the products of agricultural
biotechnology and no adverse effects have been demonstrated".
McGloughlin likewise emphasized that from conception to commercial
introduction, it can take up to 10 years to bring a biotech plant to the
market; pass through ten separate regulatory procedures, and six separate
opportunities for the public to review and comment on the regulatory
process. After commercialization, the regulatory agencies still have the
power to demand immediate market removal of any product feared to have
unreasonable safety risks.
She concluded by saying that "we should not limit the wonderful potential
of improved nutrition and quality that promise to strengthen the
agricultural economies in the world."
GM POTATO TO REDUCE FUNGICIDE COST IN EUROPE
Successful introduction of a genetically modified potato, particularly
late blight resistant potato, on 100 percent of European potato acreage
would eliminate the need for European Union growers to use 7.5 million
kilograms of fungicides, thus reducing production costs by (375 million
and increasing potato production by 858 million kilograms worth (99
million. This is the forecast of Leonard Gianessi and colleagues in their
case study entitled "Plant Biotechnology: Potential Impact for Improving
Pest Management in European Agriculture: Potato Case Study."
One of a series of case studies recently completed by the National Center
for Food and Agricultural Policy, Washington, DC, the potato case study
provides a summary of the potential impacts of Bt potato in Europe.
The research team cited a University of Idaho study that estimated the
potential benefit of GM late blight resistant potato in Europe. It
estimated that planting it would reduce fungicide cost by $136/ha in
Europe or a reduction in 25 million kilograms of fungicide. The average
benefit for Europe was $212/hectare which includes yield increases,
reduction in storage rots, improved quality, and reduced fungicide cost.
The full report is available online at
INNOVATIVE BIOTECH POLICY FOR AFRICA
"There is enormous potential in bio-pharmacy in Africa, in vaccine
production, in application to indigenous foods, in improving yields in raw
materials such as cotton. But before biotechnology can realize its
potential in Africa, governments must invest in an innovative
biotechnology policy that enables them to make intelligent choices that
would not depend on what the Green Peace movement wants or what the
European Union advocates or what the biotechnology entrepreneurs are
pushing from America. Rather, it will depend on the needs and aspirations
of the peoples of Africa, their social, cultural and environmental
concerns." This statement was expressed by Dr. Osita Ogbu, executive
director of the African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPSN) during
the Scientific Revival Day in Africa in Nairobi, Kenya. June 30 of every
year has been declared by African leaders as a day to appreciate what
science can do for the continent.
The ATPSN executive director also said that Africa must invest and build
adequate national or regional capacity for biotechnology including
appropriate institutions to ensure the use of the technology. "To be part
of this scientific revolution, we need knowledge: requisite and organized
knowledge that empowers," he added./Kenya Biotechnology Information Centre
For more on Kenya Biotechnology Information Centre visit
BIOTECH ADOPTION INCREASES IN US
The United States Department of Agriculture Acreage Report states that
adoption of biotech varieties continues to increase. About 40 percent of
this year's corn crop will be planted to biotech varieties, up from 34% in
2002. In South Dakota, 75 percent of all corn planted will be biotech.
Insect resistant varieties will account for 25 percent of the crop, up
from 22 percent last year, and herbicide resistant varieties will reach 11
Biotech soybean varieties will account for 81 percent of this year's crop,
up from 75 percent in 2002. More than 90 percent of the crop in South
Dakota will be biotech. About 73 percent of cotton will be GM varieties,
or about 2 percent more than in 2002.
More details on the acreage report at
http://www.cropdecisions.com/show_story.php?id=20164. For more on the
USDA, visit http://www.usda.gov.
INDIA-US BIOTECH PARTNERSHIP
India and the United States will soon set up a formal framework for
research collaboration in the field of agricultural biotechnology. Under
the agreement, the Indian Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and the US
Agency for International Development (USAID) will form consortium-based
partnerships in areas such as policy planning, research and development,
and capacity building.
Research collaboration between the two countries will dwell on the areas
of soil salinity, drought and nutritional improvement. Private-public
partnerships will also be promoted for the setting up of common research
facilities, the identification of possible research projects, and the
carrying out of detailed studies in functional genomics.
See the full story at
IITA TO WORK ON CASSAVA MOSAIC DISEASE
The International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan,
Nigeria is gearing efforts to stop the outbreak of virulent Cassava Mosaic
Disease (CMD) in Nigeria which could lead to food shortages in the cassava
belt of the country. Supporting the project are the government of Nigeria,
the Niger Delta Development Commission, and the United States Agency for
IITA reports that the two viruses, which are precursors to the most
destructive form of the disease, have already been found in the cassava
belt of Nigeria and IITA researchers believe that prompt action is needed.
In Nigeria, IITA plans to produce millions of new disease-resistant
cassava plantlets and cuttings for distribution to Nigerian farmers.
The improved plants will not only resist the disease but will also slow
its spread to nonresistant varieties, acting as a barrier. CMD is often
carried from plant to plant by white flies that feed on the cassava
leaves. The virus attacks the leaves, preventing normal photosynthesis. As
a consequence, the diseased plant stops producing storage roots.
For more information, email Dr. Alfred Dixon, IITA cassava breeder, at
NEW PUBLICATIONS FROM ISAAA
The Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology of the International
Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) has made
available on its website Pocket K No. 11 entitled "Contribution of GM
technology to the livestock sector." Pocket Ks are Pockets of Knowledge on
crop biotechnology products and related issues. To view or download the
publication and back issues, go to http://www.isaaa.org/kc.
"NCFAP Study: Plant biotechnology has growth potential in Europe," is
ISAAA's latest K (Knowledge) Sheet. This K-Sheet summarizes the results of
the first three case studies released by the National Center for Food and
Agricultural Policy (NCFAP) which shows how GM crops can benefit European
farmers. Download the summary from http://www.isaaa.org/kc.