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Date:

April 16, 2008

Subject:

Fight 'Charities' to Feed Africa; Uganda approves biotech policy; Biotech Wheat Would Increase Supply

 

* Uganda approves biotechnology policy
* Japan food maker starts buying GM corn
* EU regs could worsen food prices
* Biotech Wheat Would Increase Supply
* Global change: interviews
* The Fight to Feed Africa
* Science and tech are key to more food
* Food Price Headlines; Riots and More

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Uganda gives go-ahead to biotechnology policy

- Peter Wamboga-Mugirya, SciDev.net, Apr. 11, 2008

http://www.scidev.net/en/news/uganda-gives-go-ahead-to-biotechnology-policy.html

KAMPALA - Uganda's cabinet has approved its first National Biotechnology and Biosafety Policy, after eight years of deliberation.

The policy was approved last week (2 April), and provides objectives and guidelines for the promotion and regulation of biotechnology use in the country.

"The policy bears the guidelines on the legal, institutional and regulatory framework," Peter Ndemere, executive secretary of the state-run Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST), told SciDev.Net.

But for the policy to be implemented, a bill must be presented to parliament and passed into a law - a process that could take many months.

"We've drafted a biotech bill for parliament to discuss and pass into law," says Ndemere. "In order to implement a law, you need a policy instrument, that's why the policy comes first."

He adds that the commercialisation of genetically modified (GM) crops requires this law. The guidelines in the policy also cover tissue and cell culture, medical diagnostics, industrial microbiology and biochemical engineering.

The policy was drafted by the state-run Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST) with extensive consultation with farmers and consumer groups, university dons, policymakers and legislators leading to considerable re-shaping of the regulations.

Research into genetically modified crops is already underway in the country (see Uganda approves Bt cotton trials), overseen by the National Biosafety Committee, and researchers are hopeful that the approval of the policy will translate into law.

"Cabinet has made my day. They have provided this country with the necessary policy guidelines that shall give our research a proper way forward. Roles - which institution does what - have been well spelt out," says Andrew Kiggundu from the National Agricultural Biotechnology Centre in Kawanda, which is researching high-yield GM cotton and cassava.

Robert Anguzu of the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO), which was consulted on the bill, says the legislation allows Uganda to cope with rapid biotechnology developments in neighbouring Kenya.

"Kenya's genetically modified organisms would easily find their way into Uganda. If they found us unprepared, without regulations, it would be a big challenge to manage them when they're already with farmers and consumers," says Arthur Makara, Senior Science/Biosafety Officer and Secretary to the National Biosafety Committee.

**********************************

Japan food maker starts buying genetically modified corn

- Bloomberg via Taiwan News, Apr. 15, 2008

http://www.taiwannews.com.tw/etn/news_content.php?id=640031&lang=eng_news&cate_img=logo_world&cate_rss=WORLD_eng

Nihon Shokuhin Kako Co. Ltd., Japan's largest buyer of corn for use in food, is importing genetically modified supplies for the first time this year as high prices deter gene-pure purchases, a company executive said.

The Tokyo-based company plans to process 250,000 metric tons of U.S. GMO corn in 2008, signaling a change in policy on corn procurement, Mikio Shoji, director at Nihon Shokuhin Kako, said in an interview. The company, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corp., is the biggest of 11 Japanese corn-starch makers and buys more than 750,000 tons of the grain annually.

Food makers in Japan, the world's largest corn importer, pay a premium for non-modified supplies because of consumer concerns that GMO varieties may not be safe. Corn prices have risen 56 percent in the past year and reached a record US$6.16 a bushel in Chicago on April 9.

"We have no choice but to use GMO corn, as the grain is becoming increasingly costly and the price differential between GMO and non-GMO supplies is widening," Shoji said April 11.

Nihon Shokuhin Kako previously used only non-GMO crops to produce sweetener for soft drinks and confectionery.

"Given soaring costs for non-GMO corn, it's an inevitable move and will be followed by other food makers in Japan," Takaki Shigemoto, an analyst at Tokyo-based commodity broker Okachi & Co., said by phone.

Non-GMO corn harvested in the U.S. last year is US$0.80 to US$1 a bushel more expensive than GMO corn, Shoji said. The premium is expected to double for crops this year, as farmers plant more GMO varieties that are easier and cheaper to grow, he added.

"Non-GMO corn is becoming a rare and premium product," Shoji said. GMO varieties are expected to represent 80-85 percent of overall corn to be planted in the U.S. this year, rising from more than 70 percent last year, he added.

Japan imported 16.6 million tons of corn last year, according to the Finance Ministry. Of the total, 93 percent was from the U.S., the largest producer and exporter of the grain. The ministry gave no breakdown for GMO and non-GMO supplies.

Japan Starch & Sweeteners Industry Association estimates 3.7 million tons of corn was used in the year ended March 31 to produce starch, which was processed into sweetener.

The cost of buying U.S. corn has more than doubled in the past two years to 38,000 yen (US$376) a ton, including freight, Shoji said. The company raised prices of its products by 15 yen a kilogram this month to pass on rising costs.

Nihon Shokuhin Kako will keep supplying products made from non-GMO corn to customers resistant to modified crops, such as beer brewers and sauce makers, Shoji said. Producers of soft drinks and confectionery are generally accepting sweetener made from GMO corn, he added.

"They won't cause any problem in terms of food safety," Shoji said. Japan allows food companies to use genetically modified crops that the government confirms as safe to eat.

The country has approved 36 varieties of GMO corn, including products of Monsanto Co., the world's biggest seed producer, and Switzerland's Syngenta AG, according to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

**********************************

EU pesticides regulation could put further pressure on food prices

- Elaine Watson, Food Manufacture.co.uk, Apr. 7, 2008

http://www.foodmanufacture.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/6249/EU_pesticides_regulation_could_put_further_pressure_on_food_prices.html

If new rules restricting pesticide use in the EU are approved, food prices in Europe could rise sharply as crop yields fall, according to the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA).

Its warning came as Italian research institute Nomisma predicted that a proposed new EU Regulation on pesticide use could cause yields of wheat, potatoes and cereals to plummet by 29%, 33% and 20% respectively by 2020.

This would drive up prices at a time when commodity prices were already at record highs, owing to rising demand from China and India and more crops being diverted into biofuel production, warned the ECPA.

It could also prove counterproductive by forcing EU manufacturers to source more raw materials from outside the EU (where the rules do not apply), which would also increase food miles, said a spokesman. "This is one of a number of areas where a seemingly 'green' initiative might have unexpected and counterproductive consequences."

Ironically, it could also increase the use of genetically modified crops in the long term as farmers sought to grow more crops without using pesticides.

If the European Parliament's recent amendments - which are far stricter than the original proposal - are adopted, up to 80% of the active ingredients used in pesticides and the sale of more than 90% of insecticides used in agriculture today could be banned, claimed the ECPA. "Simply put, European crops would be at risk of disease; farming and production costs would increase; manufacturers would face the need to move sourcing away from Europe and higher prices; and consumers would face higher food prices."

Currently, the marketing and use of pesticides and their residues in food is regulated by Directive 91/414/EEC. Under this legislation, only the active substances that are included in a positive EU list of authorised substances can be used in pesticides.

In July 2006, the European Commission proposed a new Regulation concerning the placement of pesticides on the market, including "cut-off" criteria that would ban the use of many active ingredients based solely on whether a substance presents a hazard if dosed high enough and not on whether it poses a risk under realistic conditions of use.

In October 2007, the European Parliament revised the Commission's draft Regulation and presented amendments including additional cut-off criteria that would ban many more active ingredients.

The Council is currently reviewing the proposed amendment with an agreement expected in the next few weeks.

**********************************

Biotech Wheat: Buyers Would Benefit From Increased Supply

- Growers for Biotechnology, Prairie Grains, Apr. 2008

http://www.growersforwheatbiotechnology.org/html/news.cfm?ID=709

The failure of the wheat industry to accept biotechnology is costing wheat producers and end users millions of dollars each year, according to Dr. Bill Wilson, professor in the Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics at North Dakota State University.

In a presentation to U.S. Wheat Associates and North American Wheat Growers Feb. 5 in Washington, D.C., Wilson said the system already is in place to segregate biotech from non-biotech wheat and that customers could have the grain they want if they do some planning, work within the current marketing systems and are willing to pay a little more for specific/special requirements.

Wilson presented data that could help wheat producers convince the milling and baking industry that accepting wheat biotechnology would be beneficial to growers and end users alike.

The most significant benefit for wheat purchasers would be a chance to reverse the decline in wheat acres, which has contributed to a short supply and higher prices for bakers and millers. Wilson illustrated how biotechnology, by adding value to other crops, has caused growers to divert their wheat acres to those crops.

There is so much added valued in biotech corn and soybean that wheat prices will have to increase drastically to win back growers. As an example, Wilson said, the 2008 planting season price for new crop hard winter wheat was $3 more than the price of corn, yet wheat acres declined one percent over the previous year. A similar decline is expected for hard red spring wheat.

Further investment in corn and soybeans will only exacerbate the differences, creating even more of what Wilson termed "opportunity costs" - the cost to wheat when growers seek opportunity elsewhere. For example, he cited the expected introduction of a second generation of Roundup Ready soybeans, which projects a 5 to 7 bushel per acre yield increase. That translates into an increased value of up to $70 per acre for soy producers and means that wheat prices would have to increase $1.49 per bushel to keep pace with just that one new biotech product.

The advent of drought tolerant corn is projected to create an opportunity cost of 60 cents per bushel. Furthermore, the ability to produce corn in drier regions is expected to expand the Corn Belt westward, competing for traditional wheat acres.

The greater opportunity in biotech crops explains why wheat acres have been declining steadily for the past decade, Wilson said. He encouraged producers to share their experience with wheat buyers to convince them that they would benefit along with growers if GM wheat were introduced.

Roundup Ready wheat, for example, would add value of an estimated $14 per acre or 48 cents per bushel, because of higher yields and improved efficiency. This would begin to offset the opportunity costs and would create an overall benefit to growers of $197 million per year. It also results in a projected consumer benefit of $163 million, attributable to readily available supplies and lower prices. These projections take into account the expected costs to segregate GM and non-GM grain.

Only the countries that refuse to accept any biotech wheat would pay more. Contrary to the European thought that growers would have to pay for segregation, Wilson says that "buyers imposing onerous requirements ultimately have to compete for supplies and have to induce their suppliers to adopt higher cost alternatives." The choice, however, would be available to any customers that want to pay more to appeal to a market segment.

"My message has always been that in a mature market it is expected that there will be segmentation. Wheat is a very mature market and it is expected that there will be an organic segment and a non-GM segment and some that don't care about it. This is true with any country."

He cited market research data to show that consumers have very little concern about biotech foods. Fewer than half a percent of people surveyed identified food biotechnology as a concern and fewer than one percent volunteer that they want food labels to disclose biotech ingredients.

However, if grain buyers want to offer a non-GM product, the infrastructure to facilitate segregation already is in place, Wilson said. His survey of grain elevators found that the average cost for elevators to segregate GM and non-GM is 7 cents per bushel, far less than estimates of USDA. The segregation process, which involves several stages of purity testing, is protective of growers and buyers. The risk that a non-GM grower's crop might be rejected for exceeding GM tolerances is only 1.75 percent. The risk to the buyer who wants non-GM grain is only about one-fifth of one percent (0.02 percent), Wilson said.

If GM wheat were introduced, the grain handling system would likely further evolve, he said, to include elevators and port facilities that handle only non-GM, further mitigating the risk that terms of a contract might be violated.

The best way to ensure that customers get the product they want is for buyers to initiate contracts with growers, a prospect that Wilson termed the "biggest hurdle."

"It not only requires buyers to initiate the contract, but it requires buyers to initiate a contract prior to planting." He said there is little question that the system is in place to deliver on nearly any type of contract, but it requires that a decision be made at least 14 months before the buyer needs the product. "And I believe that is going to be one of the biggest hurdles in trying to make this happen."

**********************************

Global change: interviews

http://www.globalchange-discussion.org/interview/ms_swaminathan?PHPSESSID=e5d9d065de2bf2efdc959b72b0dfbde9

- M.S. Swaminathan, UNESCO Chairman in Ecotechnology at the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai, India and Chairman of the National Commission on Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Security of India

Monkombu Sambasivan Swaminathan says the most important problem in the field of food is the rising cost of food.

Food prices go up due to the rise of biofuels and the increasing competition between fuel and food. The second important problem is climate change. Energy costs have gone up and as a result farmers are attracted to the production of biofuels. They use land not for food production but for fuel crops production. All this leads to issues on food security. We should only use cellulosic material for the production of biofuels.

Biotechnology can offer new ways to address climate change. Drought tolerance can be built into crops, for instance rice, by transferring genes. Salt tolerance is also very important.

There is less and less dialogue and there are more and more opinions. We do not require confrontation, but consensus. We all want food for all and forever, but how do we achieve it? We must blend the tools of traditional wisdom and modern science, this will lead to an era of biohappiness.

Full interview: http://www.globalchange-discussion.org/interview/ms_swaminathan/full_interview

----------------------

http://www.globalchange-discussion.org/interview/joachim_von_braun

- Joachim von Braun, Director general of the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington

Joachim von Braun states that high food prices are currently the most urgent problem in the field of food.

High food prices are especially a problem for the poor people, because they already have a shortage of food. The problem can be addressed by policies and programmes that enhance productivity and reduce poverty in rural areas.

The most important dilemma in the field of food at this time is that we have a large portion of the population left in poverty and on the other hand a better world economic situation.

Biotechnology can and already does play a role. It can be an instrument to increase the income of farmers and it can play a helpful role in addressing the long-term sustainability issue and climate change, for instance by developing plants with drought resistance and with a higher nutrient content.

Full interview: http://www.globalchange-discussion.org/interview/joachim_von_braun/full_interview

**********************************

The Fight to Feed Africa

How Liberal Charities are Keeping Millions Hungry

- Robert Paarlberg, New York Post, Apr. 6, 2008

http://www.nypost.com/seven/04062008/postopinion/opedcolumnists/the_fight_to_feed_africa_105148.htm

Why are so many Africans desperately poor? The answer lies in the kind of work they do - more than 60 percent plant agricultural crops and graze animals - and in the fact that their farming lacks the productivity provided by modern science.

But the other, more tragic, answer is that Western charities are helping to keep them that way.

Most small farmers in Africa do not plant any scientifically improved seeds, do not use chemical fertilizers, do not have access to veterinary medicine, do not have any electrical power and do not have any irrigation. Lacking any of these improvements, their labor in farming (80 percent of which comes from women and children) earns them only about $1 a day. One-third are malnourished.

On a per capita basis, Africa's farms today are producing 19 percent less than they did in 1970. These condition persist throughout nearly all of sub-Saharan Africa - even in countries that produce food crops more than cash crops; even in countries enjoying internal peace; even in countries with elected governments and low inflation even in countries with low rates of HIV; even in countries with adequate access to international markets; even in countries receiving generous foreign aid.

Yet African nations do little to modernize. Although a majority of all African citizens still depend on agriculture for income, governments in Africa typically devote less than 5 percent of their national budget to the agricultural sector, and many spend less than this. Since 1991 in Uganda, where two-thirds of all citizens are farmers, agriculture has not received more than 3 percent of the budget in any year, and in some years the share has been below 2 percent.

It is Western donors who romanticize traditional farms and demonize genetically-modified crops that encourage this behavior.

African governments are heavily dependent on foreign aid, and since the early 1980s the donor community has cut its assistance for agriculture modernization dramatically. The US Agency for International Development has cut the agricultural share of its aid programs from 25 percent of the total in 1980 down to just 1 percent today. US bilateral assistance to agricultural science in Africa has actually fallen by 75 percent since the 1980s. World Bank lending for agriculture has dropped from 30 percent of all Bank lending in 1978 down to just 8 percent of lending today. It was largely because the international donors abandoned the goal of agricultural modernization that African governments did the same.

Prosperous countries in Europe and North America have cut back on bringing modern agricultural science to Africa for curiously myopic reasons. Having noticed that their own farmers at home are highly productive and don't need more agricultural science, they conclude that farmers in Africa should not need any more, either.

Beyond this, some influential elites in prosperous countries are actively hostile to agricultural science. Having used modern science to become productive, prosperous and well fed themselves, they have begun to fantasize about returning to an earlier model of farming - one based on farms that are all small, local, highly diversified and dependent exclusively on the use of pre-modern organic fertilizers (such as composted animal manure) without any inorganic nitrogen. They also want "heirloom" crop varieties rather than scientifically improved crops, and, of course, no genetically-engineered seeds.

What groups such as Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace fail to realize is that the impoverished farming seen throughout Africa today is little more than an extreme version of their pre-modern fantasy. Prosperous countries don't actually adopt this kind of farming at home (less than 1 percent of U.S. cropland is currently being farmed organically, and in Europe only 4 percent), but that doesn't stop organic farming activists from trying to sell the vision to governments and farmers in Africa. Organic farming activists actually see Africa's low use of chemical fertilizers (one reason for low crop yields, which are one-third the Asian average) as an advantage, since they can be more easily certified as organic.

Non-productive and poor, but certified organic.

Now European activists in particular are telling African governments they should stay away from approving any genetically-engineered crops, known as GMOs. These crops were first introduced in the mid 1990s and are being grown successfully (and so far without any documented mishap) in 23 countries around the world, including a number of developing countries such as China, India, Philippines, Argentina and Brazil.

They are popular with farmers because they help reduce the costs of weed and insect control, and Europe's own scientific authorities have found no new risk to human health or the environment from any of the dozens of different GMO crops approved by regulators so far (a finding endorsed by the Royal Society in London, the British Medical Association, the French Academy of Sciences, the French Academy of Medicine, the German Academies of Science and Humanities, and the Research Directorate of the European Union).

Yet when European activists speak to Africans about GMOs, they conceal these benign official assessments and traffic instead in fear.

In 2002, an official delegation from Zambia visited the UK to get advice on whether or not to accept GMO corn from the United States as food aid during a drought emergency. This was the same corn Americans had been eating since 1996, but the Zambians were told by Greenpeace that if GMOs were let into their country, organic produce sales to Europe would collapse; an organization named Genetic Food Alert warned of the "unknown and unassessed implications" of eating GM foods; and a group named Farming and Livestock Concern warned the Zambians that GM corn could form a retrovirus similar to HIV. These erroneous assertions frightened the Zambians into banning GMOs completely.

As Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa explained at the time, "Simply because my people are hungry, that is no justification to give them poison."

A group of mostly European NGOs, this time led by Friends of the Earth, then continued the disinformation campaign against GMOs at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. They coached their African partners into signing an open letter warning that GMOs might cause allergies, chronic toxic effects and cancers. At this same meeting in 2002, two Dutch organizations, HIVOS and NOVIB, joined with partner groups from Belgium, Germany and the UK to pay for a so-called "small farmers march" on Johannesburg that ended with a predictable pronouncement that Africans "say NO to genetically modified foods."

The local African organizer of this effort, who was not a farmer himself, later explained that he was opposed to GMO foods because he had been told they would change the genetic composition of the human body. An African minister at this meeting asked US AID Administrator Andrew Natsios "if it was true" that GMO crops contained pig genes.

These fear campaigns, mounted by European activists and paid for with European money, were unfortunately effective in Africa. As of 2008, only one country on the continent - South Africa - has made it legal for farmers to plant any genetically-engineered crops at all. South Africa was able to avoid the damage only because it had a science-based regulatory system for GMO safety in place several years before activists from Europe began campaigning against the technology.

Why are governments in Africa, with their citizenship of mostly poor and non-productive farmers, adopting an urbanized European perspective toward this new technology? Africa follows Europe in this case, rather than the United States, because of a trio of continuing post-colonial relationships.

Africa's farm exports to Europe are six times as large as exports to the Untied States, so it is European consumer tastes and European regulatory systems that Africans feel they must mimic. Africa also gets three times as much foreign assistance from Europe compared to the United States, so when European donors counsel against GMO crops, African governments must listen. Europe also contributes three times as much to the Trust Fund of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) as the United States, so when the United Nations Environment Programme uses GEF money to show Africans how to regulate GMOs, they favor the stifling European approach.

The richest of tastes are being imposed on the poorest of people.

Fortunately some independent-minded Americans and Africans are looking for ways to break out of this pattern. Since 2006, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been braving criticism from anti-science NGOs to provide private-grant funding for a new initiative called an Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, chaired by former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan. This project will use conventional scientific plant breeding techniques to bring improved seed varieties to African farmers.

When this project was announced, an NGO from Europe named GRAIN tried to argue that improvements in crop genetics in Africa would only lead to greater poverty, and an NGO from the United States named Food First criticized the project as "naive" for its assumption that African farmers needed more science-based productivity.

Yet this year the Gates Foundation has gone ahead with another research project in Africa, to develop improved varieties of drought-tolerant crops, using not just traditional breeding techniques but genetic engineering as well. Crops better able to tolerate drought are precisely what poor farmers in Africa need to work their way out of poverty, so it is reassuring to see at least some private philanthropic donors keeping Africa's need for more and better farm science utmost in mind.

Robert Paarlberg is a professor of political science at Wellesley College and author of "Starved for Science: How Biotechnology Is Being Kept Out of Africa" (Harvard University Press)

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Science and technology are key to growing more food: CropLife believes the IAASTD report falls short of goals by overlooking the potential of modern plant sciences

- CropLife (press release), Apr. 15, 2008

http://www.croplife.org/library/attachments/0889ff92-3ffa-41a6-91bd-9e01fc9993bb/2/2008%2004%2015%20-%20Science%20and%20Technology%20are%20Key%20to%20Growing%20More%20Food.pdf

Brussels, Belgium - In maintaining its commitment to identifying solutions to alleviating hunger and poverty, CropLife International continues to refuse to endorse a report called the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) because of its failure to recognize the role modern plant sciences, including plant biotechnology and crop protection, can play in increasing agricultural crop productivity. The IAASTD Report[1] is the culmination of a three-year project that set out to evaluate the effectiveness of different technologies to reduce hunger, improve nutrition, health, and sustainability.

"Our industry remains committed to the original goals of the IAASTD project - to help alleviate hunger and poverty. When the IAASTD project was launched, we contributed funding and hoped that the report would provide a comprehensive and balanced review of all available agricultural technologies, including crop protection and plant biotechnology along with recognizing the need for improving infrastructure and government policies to encourage agricultural productivity in developing countries," said Howard Minigh, president and CEO of CropLife International. "With all the benefits farmers have enjoyed in developed countries from plant sciences in the last several decades, it would seem only logical to consider transferring these proven technologies to resource-poor farmers. It's disappointing that a project with so much potential has fallen so short of its goals and will not be helpful to policy makers."

Other respected organizations, including the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and the Public Research and Regulation Initiative (PRRI) have independently reached similar conclusions and expressed dissatisfaction with the report.

The World Bank estimates that 33 countries around the world face potential social unrest because of the acute increase in food and energy prices. CropLife strongly agrees that by working with various stakeholders, the private sector can offer access to technology and science to boost crop yields sustainably.

Abating hunger is a key priority for the plant science industry, which understands that increasing agricultural productivity is an important component in addressing food insecurity. Modern plant sciences can increase crop quality and productivity in order to meet a growing world demand for food, fiber, and fuel. Increasing productivity on currently farmed land is the only way to effectively meet this challenge without plowing under much more land. Modern technology, including crop protection products, hybrid seeds, and biotech crops have supported increased crop yields in developing countries. This was reiterated in the World Development Report 2008 on Agriculture for Development,[2] which recognized that "science and technological innovation are critical for the agriculture-for-development agenda to succeed." The Report also acknowledged the potential plant biotechnology has on impacting many areas of agriculture, including crop and animal productivity, environmental sustainability, and consumer traits important to the poor.

Developing countries facing food insecurity stand to benefit the most from plant science technologies. Today, more than 11 million resource-poor farmers in developing countries are growing biotech crops. The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) believes the increased farmer income from biotech crops will contribute to the Millennium Development Goals of reducing poverty by 50 percent by 2015.

Both the President of the World Bank and the Director General of the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have recognized the need for a "Green Revolution" for Africa, including access to science and technology. The private sector is an essential partner to help make this happen. Technology providers have long worked with research teams and institutions in developing regions to identify solutions to regional agricultural challenges, such as drought, diseases, and local pests. Most recently, in March 2008, two CropLife member companies announced collaboration with the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) to provide technology to develop drought-tolerant corn. The project is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.

"For the last 50 years, farmers worldwide have benefitted greatly from the use of crop protection products, hybrid crops, and more recently plant biotechnology. We hope that policy makers recognize this and will not be misled by the IAASTD report," said Minigh. "Farmers across the globe should have the opportunity to access the best agricultural technologies available, and should have the choice to use the tools that best fit their farming practices."

For additional background information on the potential of modern plant sciences, click here to view "The Next Generation 'Green Revolution."

[1] A copy of the full IAASTD report, being presented at the plenary meeting in Johannesburg, can be found online at http://www.agassessment.org/index.cfm?Page=Plenary&ItemID=2713.

[2] The World Development Report 2008 on Agriculture for Development was published in October 2007 and calls for greater investment in agriculture in developing countries.

**********************************

Food Prices Headlines

Haiti ousts leader over high food prices, Jonathan M Katz, Mail & Guardian, Apr. 12, 2008,
http://www.mg.co.za/articlepage.aspx?area=/breaking_news/breaking_news__international_news/&articleid=336857

Surging food prices could slow poverty reduction by seven years, The Economic Times (India), Apr. 12, 2008,
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/News/International_Business/Surging_food_prices_could_slow_poverty_reduction_by_seven_years/articleshow/2946378.cms

Indians face record inflation as a result of runaway food prices, AsiaNews.it, Apr. 11, 2008,
http://www.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=11995&size=A

Philippines calls for Asian meeting on escalating food prices, ABC Radio Australia, Apr. 12, 2008,
http://www.abc.net.au/ra/news/stories/200804/s2215153.htm?tab=latest

Bangladesh workers riot over soaring food prices, Agence France Presse, Apr. 12, 2008,
http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5g7DFz2n2qmBIx-UVdGeBwG_vGfpw

Rising Food Prices Spell Hunger for Millions Across Africa: World Bank urges action for fighting the hunger epidemic, World Bank (web posting), Apr. 12, 2008,
http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/NEWS/0,,contentMDK:21727859~pagePK:34370~piPK:34424~theSitePK:4607,00.html

The Fury of the Poor: Photo Gallery: Food Riots Around the World, Der Spiegel, April 14, 2008, http://www.spiegel.de/fotostrecke/0,5538,30613,00.html

Eastern Cornbelt Organic Grain & Feedstuffs Report (Bi-Weekly)

Weighted Average Report for Week Ending 4/5/2008 (Spot price, US$ per bushel)

- USDA-IL Dept Ag Market News, Springfield, IL, Apr 9, 2008

http://www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/gx_gr120.txt

Organic Corn

Food Yellow [0]
Feed Yellow 9.06-10.00

Organic Soybeans

Food Grade [0]
Feed Grade 25.00-29.50

http://www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/gx_gr110.txt

- USDA-IL Market News, Springfield, IL, Apr 14, 2008

Chicago terminal grain report (Spot price, US$ per bushel)

Soybeans 13.3050-13.3750
Corn 5.4875-5.6175

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*by Andrew Apel, guest editor, andrewapel*at*wildblue.net