A farmer holds different types of corn cobs in Otzolotepec, on the outskirts of Mexico City, February 7, 2017. Picture taken February 7, 2017. Reuters/Carlos Jasso/File photo

Farmer criticism of Mexican GMO corn ban not universal

MONTERREY, Mexico (Reuters) — Mexico’s main agricultural lobby has criticized the government’s decision to ban genetically modified corn, while organic growers hailed the move that should protect smaller farmers. Mexico will “revoke and refrain from granting permits for the release of genetically modified corn seeds into the environment,” stated a decree issued Dec. 31, which […] Read more

Only the prospect of financial support will encourage farmers to switch from grain crops, with their government-set prices, to the less predictable gains of oilseeds.
 | File photo

Protesting farmers key to edible oils in India

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI, India (Reuters) — Indian farmer Shingara Singh has grown grain for 35 years and is one of thousands of protesters against agricultural reforms who have the power to help slash a huge annual bill of US$10 billion for imports of vegetable oils. But Singh, 55, says he will only switch to growing oilseeds, […] Read more

According to a statement issued after the annual Central Economic Work Conference held on Dec. 16-18, China needs to make better use of science and technology to achieve a “turnaround” in its seed industry. | File photo

China plans to focus on growing GM crops

SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) — China will industrialize biotech breeding as part of a campaign to improve food security, top leaders said in a recent policy statement, signalling Beijing could soon take a further step toward commercializing genetically modified crops. According to a statement issued after the annual Central Economic Work Conference held on Dec. 16-18, China […] Read more

One goal suggested for Africa is to ensure the formalization of land rights with the objective of attracting investments in the agricultural sector and unlocking its potential.  | Reuters/Jean Bizimana photo

Africa must rethink its approach to agriculture

A South African economist argues that governments must embrace technology and seek out private sector partnerships

(Reuters) — In response to the economic devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, most sub-Saharan governments are developing economic recovery plans. These will require some different thinking, particularly when it comes to agriculture. Wandile Sihlobo, chief economist of the Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa, explains to Michael Aliber, a professor of agricultural economics at […] Read more

News briefs

Brazil to import more soybeans SAO PAULO, Brazil — Brazil, the world’s largest soybean producer, will likely import larger-than-usual volumes of the oilseeds next year to cater to domestic demand, oilseeds crushers’ association Abiove told a recent news conference. At the same time, internal demand is heated, Brazil will continue supplying its most prized export […] Read more

The United States said it intends to challenge Canada’s allocation of dairy tariff-rate quotas under the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA). | File photo

U.S. challenges Canada’s dairy tariff-rate quotas

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Reuters) — The United States said it intends to challenge Canada’s allocation of dairy tariff-rate quotas under the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA). “Canada’s measures violate its commitments and harm U.S dairy farmers and producers,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement. If the U.S. and Canada are not able to resolve […] Read more

A supporter of the Aam Aadmi party is carried away during a nationwide strike against the newly passed agricultural reform law.  | Reuters/Anushree Fadnavis photo

Indian farmers promise to step up protests

Producers fear reforms would give private businesses too much control and have rejected government changes to law

New Delhi, India (Reuters) — India’s farmers rejected a government proposal last week to amend three controversial laws and said they would step up protests seeking withdrawal of these laws, which they said would harm their economic interests while helping big food retailers. Farmers have been demonstrating since late last month over reforms enacted in […] Read more

Former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack, right, who sources say will be the next agriculture secretary, shakes hands with president-elect Joe Biden in January when Biden was seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. | Reuters/Mike Segar photo

Biden reported to be choosing familiar face as ag secretary

Tom Vilsack, who was U.S. agriculture secretary under Obama, is a disappointment for climate and nutrition activists

CHICAGO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) — U.S. president-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack for U.S. agriculture secretary, according to two sources familiar with the decision. It’s a choice that will reassure farmers but disappoint climate and nutrition activists. Vilsack, who led the U.S. Department of Agriculture under then-president Barack Obama, has a long […] Read more

Sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), such as liquid advanced biofuel or those produced by renewable electricity, currently account for less than one percent of Europe’s jet fuel consumption. | Flickr/Pigpen_71 photo

Europe’s ‘green’ aviation fuel target may exclude biofuel

BRUSSELS/PARIS (Reuters) — The European Commission is drawing up targets for airlines to use a minimum share of sustainable fuels, it said last week after dropping a draft five percent goal for 2030 that it deemed too low. The pledge came as the European Union executive outlined measures to tackle transport’s climate impact, including a […] Read more

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang wave during happier times between the two countries. The best approach to take now with China might be to not kowtow to the Asian powerhouse but also endeavour to allow the situation to cool and avoid provoking the dragon.  |  Reuters/Chris Wattie photo

Irresponsible ‘tough talk’ with China useless: Champagne

OTTAWA (Reuters) — Canada will keep pressing China to improve its human rights record but has no interest in irresponsible tough talk, says foreign minister Francois-Philippe Champagne. Bilateral ties between the two nations effectively froze in December 2018 when Canadian police picked up a senior Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. executive on a U.S. arrest warrant. […] Read more