Peru bans GMO foods

Due to the unknown effects that genetically modified plants can have and the intellectual property issues around them (basically Monsanto sues everyone), Peru has joined other counties in banning GMO foods. This good to see since there are so many unknowns around growing and consuming GMO products.

Peru has said “no” to genetically modified foods — a 10-year ban on GMO foods takes effect this week. Peru’s ban on GMO foods prohibits the import, production and use of genetically modified foods. The law is aimed at safeguarding the country’s agricultural diversity and preventing cross-pollination with non-GMO crops. It will also help protect Peruvian exports of organic products.

Peru isn’t the first country to ban GMO foods or place restrictions on their use. Earlier this year, Russia suspended imports of Monsanto’s GMO corn after a French study linked the corn to cancer; France also has a temporary ban on the corn. Ireland has banned the growing of GMO crops since 2009. Japan and Egypt also ban the cultivation of GMO crops. In 2010, Switzerland extended a moratorium on genetically modified animals and plants, banning GMOs until 2013.

Read more here.

Organic Fertilizers Cost Effective and Better for Crops

Here’s a good story about how poor farmers in Kenya have shunned expensive chemical fertilizers for cheaper organic ones.

The organic fertiliser is sprayed onto maize two weeks after planting, and a month later.

Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services through Kenya Agriculture Research Institute have tested the fertiliser’s components and given an analytical report.

Mr Mosbei said the use of organic fertiliser, apart from rejuvenating soil quality, saves farmers about 70 percent of the cost of production.

“Whereas it takes a farmer in the North Rift 100kg of DAP and 50kg of top dressing to plant an acre of maize, all they require is only eight litres at Sh300 per litre for the same acre,” said Mr Mosbei.

“The organic fertiliser enriches the soil with minerals and maintains an ample PH level for the minerals required by plants for optimum yield,” added Mr Rono.

Read the full article.

Thanks Greg!

Less Pesticide, More Crops

The so-called “green revolution” of farming saw the rise of industrial farming which has arguably done more harm than good. Now, the tides are turning back to a more natural way to grow food. Farmers in a few West African countries have used pesticide-free farming and have found it to be rather great!

To grow healthy crops, IPPM promotes soil improvement and alternatives to chemical pesticides such as the use of beneficial insects, adapted varieties, natural pesticides and cropping practices. Marketing and food safety issues are also part of the training programme.

“Trends in agriculture over the past decades in West Africa have seen an increasing use of highly toxic pesticides in higher-value, frequently irrigated crops. There is a general lack of knowledge in the region of the negative impacts of pesticides on the production, economy and health of communities and the environment,” said William Settle, FAO Senior Technical Officer.

“Simple experiments in the field, as practised by the Farmer Field Schools, have given smallholders the means to produce in a more environmentally friendly way, to substantially increase yields and earn a better income,” Settle added.

“Capacity building at community level is key to the sustainable intensification of food production, which will contribute to increased food security and improved livelihoods in the region, an important step towards achieving the first Millennium Development Goal, reducing hunger and povert

Keep reading the rest here.

Protecting England’s Topsoil

England’s topsoil contains a lot of carbon and if things go unchecked it may erode away.Thankfully, the British government is going to release a plan of action to make sure that the topsoil will be protected by a sustainable action plan. Of course, the soil is also good for growing corps and the protection of this soil is great for farmers.

The BBC can tell you a bit more about the plan.

Mr Benn said: “Soil is one of the building blocks of life. Good quality soils are essential for a thriving farming industry, a sustainable food supply, and a healthy environment.
“Britain’s soils hold more carbon than all the trees in Europe’s forests – and their protection is critical if we are to successfully combat climate change.
“This is an important step in increasing the value we place on soil, and will safeguard this vital resource now and in the future.”
A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) spokesman said: “England’s soil has suffered over the last 200 years from the impacts of intensive farming and industrial pollution, and today is under threat from erosion by wind and rain, a loss of organic matter and nutrients, and pressure for development.”

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