Biopharming has pros, cons

(Sunday, Oct. 31, 2004 -- CropChoice news) -- Aine Gianoli, DTN:
KNIERIM, Iowa --Scientists are seeking cheaper, more efficient ways to produce products used in pharmaceutical drugs and they're turning to agriculture for help.

The production of pharmaceutical and industrial compounds within crops such as corn, tobacco and alfalfa unites the medical and agricultural industries. Though plant-made pharmaceuticals have yet to be approved for commercial production, companies are growing their own test plots or are contracting with farmers under regulations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


The Brazilian Amazon: Asphalt and the jungle

(Sunday, Oct. 31, 2004 -- CropChoice news) -- The Economist, 07/22/04:
Chinese companies are now directly buying up land in Brazil to grow their soya. The article below is from the Economist online and provides the obvious link between Brazil's "development programme", of which en mass soya growing is part, and deforestation.

"Land clashes, an old story in southern Pará, rage along the BR-163. In Santarém, Cargill's terminal has opened up a new front in Brazil's soyabean boom. By night, planters recently arrived from Mato Grosso cruise the waterfront in shiny Hilux pickup trucks, a marker of rural prosperity. Often, the locals are happy to sell out to deep-pocketed buyers. Sometimes, alleges a local organisation of family farmers, they are pressured to leave. In Castelo dos Sonhos ('Castle of Dreams'), four out of five corpses in the cemetery are those of murdered members of the rural workers' union, says Socorro Pena of IPAM. Over 500 people have died in Pará's land wars." (from article below)


Mexico farmers protest GM corn imports

(Friday, Oct. 29, 2004 -- CropChoice news) -- MEXICO CITY, Associated Press, 10/28/04:
--Some 300 Mexican environmentalists and farm activists opposed to biotech crops demonstrated Thursday outside a Mexico City hotel to protest a meeting there of agricultural researchers from around the world.


New report finds that herbicide-resistant crops have increased pesticide use

(Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2004 -- CropChoice news) -- The following comes from the conclusions and future prospects section of a new report by Benbrook Consulting Services -- "Genetically Engineered Crops and Pesticide Use in the United States: The First Nine Years".

"While the discovery and adoption of GE crop technology has changed American agriculture in many ways, reducing overall pesticide use is not among them. Bt transgenic crops have reduced overall insecticide use, but HT crops have increased it by a far greater margin. Moreover, the performance of HT crops appears to be slipping."