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Farm Press Blog

It was interesting to read the commentary from my colleague Hembree Brandon quoting Mike McCormick, president of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, on the impact of the boll weevil.

That’s because my family has its own boll weevil story. In 1926, my grandfather left St. Francis County, Ark., and moved 50 miles north to get away from the pest. No one knew how to control it, and it was literally eating them out of house and home.

They returned two years later after someone determined they could kill the boll weevil by spraying or “dusting” with insecticides such as calcium arsenate, also known as Black Annie.

McCormick’s comments about the dispersal of families in his part of Mississippi due to the pest came at a meeting of the Mississippi Boll Weevil Management Corporation and Farm Bureau Cotton Policy Committee where they celebrated another weevil-free year.

 

Those familiar with the industry know cotton farmers raised millions of dollars and coupled that with government funding to eradicate the boll weevil from all but the southernmost part of the Cotton Belt.  (It’s too bad we can’t build a wall to keep the boll weevil south of the border.)

The irony is that if the boll weevil was as prevalent today as it was in the 1980s, there’s no guarantee cotton producers and entomologists could eradicate the pest.

For openers, the political will needed to unite all the disparate elements of agriculture and government to fund such a program may no longer exist. And there’s the possibility malathion, the insecticide that was the workhorse of the boll weevil eradication effort, would not be available to complete it.

EPA is currently conducting a review of several organophosphate insecticides, including chlorpyrifos (Lorsban). There are concerns the use of EPA’s “water model” to determine the impact of chlorpyrifos rather than real-world scientific data could spill over into reviews of other OPs such as malathion.

Public health officials are worried about the latter because malathion is used extensively in mosquito abatement programs. Canceling the registration for a product that could be critical to battling the Zika virus would be a significant loss to fearmongering by environmental activists.

For more information on cotton issues, visit www.cotton.org.

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Business world

Economy

Posted on December 10, 2015 08:24:00 PM

Supreme Court ruling on GMO use draws ‘concern’ from rice institute

THE LOS BAÑOS-BASED International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has expressed “concern” after the Supreme Court (SC) suspended the use of genetically modified organisms (GMO) on Tuesday.

A rice farmer prepares for planting. — AFP

In a statement sent to BinessWorld, the IRRI expressed reservations about the ruling, concern it said was based on “the best scientific knowledge and evidence.”

Yet, in response to BusinessWorld’s queries how it affects the development of better rice varieties at the institute, the statement read: “We, of course, remain committed to abiding by the laws and regulations of the Philippines and of every country in which we do collaborative research.”

As soon as the institute obtains the full copy of the SC decision, it said it will read it carefully “to take stock of all implications” on biotechnological research.

One of the products that may be affected by the SC’s unanimous Tuesday ruling is Golden Rice, a genetically engineered variety developed at the IRRI.

The rice strain was designed to produce beta-carotene (pro-vitamin A) and address vitamin A deficiency, which may lead to blindness and thousands of deaths among children.

“It is the poorest and most vulnerable groups, especially women and children, whose health and well-being are most negatively affected by the scourge of micronutrient deficiency,” the IRRI noted.

The SC en banc, voting unanimously on Tuesday, expanded the Court of Appeals’ writ of kalikasan order that permanently stopped the field trials of Bt talong, a GM eggplant engineered with a bacterium to deter pest insects.

Besides affirming the stopping of Bt talong testing, the SC halted the use, testing, propagation, commercialization and importation of GMOs after it nullified the Department of Agriculture’s regulating GMO use.

It ordered the use of GMOs “temporarily” stopped until the Agriculture department promulgates new rules that will more sufficiently comply with the country’s biosafety framework and international protocols.

The SC in that decision cited the lack of scientific certainty in stopping GMO use, saying that it had to rule in the benefit of the environment amid the lack of safety guarantees.

Greenpeace Philippines, which petitioned the end to Bt talong trials, hailed the decision as a “victory for the Filipino people” but did not issue a statement. — Vince Alvic Alexis F. Nonato

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http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-07/ntch-quarantine-sign-on-mitchell-curtis27-farm/6373242

“Nothing has changed” for Katherine melon grower after virus declared impossible to eradicate
NT Country Hour By Daniel Fitzgerald

A Katherine melon grower says “nothing has changed” for his farm after the Northern Territory Government declared a plant virus cannot be eradicated.

The Department of Primary Industry (DPI) recently stepped back from trying to eradicate Cucumber Green Mottle Mosaic Virus (CGMMV), opting instead for a management program.

The virus, which affects cucurbits like melons, pumpkins, zucchini, squash and cucumbers, was found to have spread from quarantine zones and is now confirmed on 21 properties across the Northern Territory.

Mitchell Curtis grew melons near Katherine until his farm was found to be infected with the virus and put under quarantine restrictions last year.

While the DPI is still putting together a formal plan for management, Mr Curtis said as far as he understands, the move to management will not change anything for his farm in the short term.

“Basically for us, nothing has changed,” he said.

“Most of it is structural at this stage and once they work that out, we might be able to plant crops, not cucurbits, but plant crops here in 12 months.

“Going from eradication, to management leaves a lot of questions to be answered, like whether we can send [cucurbits] down south from an area that’s been infected, what we have to do to stay clean if we do grow here; all those sorts of things to put certainty back into our orchard, so that we can actually grow melons again, all have to be answered.

“It may take us around 12 months to do that, to go and liaise with other states and work on the problem [of] whether or not we can grow in areas and stay clean with some protections in our growing process, or whether we can’t.”

The Territory’s Minister for Primary Industry, Willem Westra van Holthe, confirmed last week Northern Territory farmers growing cucurbits on land not infected with CGMMV are still able to sell their produce interstate with a Plant Health Certificate.

6373242-3x2-940x627

Mr Curtis said the declaration that CGMMV cannot be eradicated ensured the nature of the Northern Territory melon industry has changed irreversibly.

“I think there’s some big questions over Territory melons, I think that’s to do with people not understanding what this virus is,” he said.

“There are a lot of viruses in melons, this is another virus that we have to learn to manage.

“Once we’ve learnt how to do that and the fear has gone out of what this virus does and how it can affect our growing processes and all those things, I think the name of the melon industry in the Territory will be just as strong as it has been.”

Mr Curtis leased a plot of land from the Northern Territory Government to grow melons on this year, but to his “absolute horror” he found the land was already infected with CGMMV.

“It certainly indicated the problem we thought we had under control was not,” he said.

“It put some big question marks as to how it got there and what’s spreading it as [the land is] about 40 kilometres from the infected area on Fox Road and its about 30 kilometres from [the infected area at] Edith Farms.”

However Mr Curtis said he believes the virus can be safely managed and controlled.

“We’ve got to keep the thing in perspective so that we understand that small areas in the Northern Territory are infected, but there’s a lot of other areas that are quite safe to grow melons and deliver them with no virus,” he said.

“We’ve got to make sure we don’t taint the whole Territory.”

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sci dev logoAEV00002UKImage credit: Adrian Evans /

 

 

 

 

 

Speed read
-The draft SDGs ignore biodiversity’s effect on food, health and poverty

-A holistic approach is critical, UN meeting hears

-Participants pledge to double biodiversity-related funding for poorer nations

Biodiversity is moving up the global development agenda, following a major meeting of policymakers at the 12th Conference of Parties (COP12) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

With countries working on setting the next targets after the Millennium Development Goals, biodiversity is already included as one of the proposed 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the UN draft working document agreed in July.

However, the current draft does not acknowledge biodiversity’s effects on global issues such as health, poverty and food security.

These effects took centre stage at the event in Pyeongchang, which was attended by around 3,000 delegates from 6-17 October.

“If we tackle poverty, inequality and environmental issues in separate silos, we can’t succeed. We have to have holistic approaches,” said UN Development Programme boss Helen Clark.

Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, executive secretary of the CBD, told environment ministers and other delegates that its 2010 biodiversity plan was critical. “We will not be able to achieve sustainable development if we do not implement the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity,” he said.

The plan estimated that US$150-440 billion a year was needed in biodiversity-related financial flows to reverse species and habitat loss, compared with the US$50 billion a year in 2010 being spent worldwide.

At the beginning of the COP12 event, the UN released a report showing progress was lagging on biodiversity goals known as Aichi targets set out in the CBD’s 2010 biodiversity plan.

For example, the key target of halving the rate of biodiversity loss, backed by a US$2.2 billion fund created at the 2010 COP meeting in Nagoya, Japan, is nowhere near being reached, according to projections in the Global Biodiversity Outlook 4 (GBO4) report.

Habitat loss

At a separate high-level meeting that took place on 16 and 17 October, ministers of the environment signed the so-called Gangwon declaration, pledging to double biodiversity-related funding for developing countries and maintain this level until 2020 to reach the Aichi biodiversity conservation targets.

Despite opposition from some larger developing countries, including India and Brazil, which cited budget constraints and the need to hold richer countries to their funding commitments, the meeting agreed that signatories should “mobilise domestic resources”. This breakthrough clause, unusual in UN documents, will mean that national budgets should give more priority to biodiversity issues.

Other areas falling well short included stemming species loss, habitat destruction, overfishing and pollution. And it seems that such declines as well as pressures on habitats are only growing, said Derek Tittensor, senior marine biodiversity scientist at the UN Environment Programme. “We’re making some effort, but, at the moment, we’re not seeing the benefits,” he told SciDev.Net.

“There has been an increase in resources and that is projected to continue into the future — that’s partly what has come out of the COP12 meeting in Korea — but the big question is whether that will be sufficient to arrest the decline in the state of biodiversity that we observed and projected,” he added.

Others, however, were more optimistic. GBO4 “is just a starting point”, said Anne-Hélène Prieur-Richard, acting executive director of international biodiversity research programme DIVERSITAS. “Some of the targets are very far from being able to be achieved by 2020. However, we also know there are lags between the time of starting actions on the ground and the time you get the fruits of them,” she told SciDev.Net.

‘Pyeongchang road map’

“It is my strong belief that these decisions will enable us to turn many of the indicators in GBO4 from yellow to green.”

Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, CBD In total, the meeting adopted 33 decisions referred to collectively as the ‘Pyeongchang road map’.

Among the decisions was an agreement to establish a technical expert group to examine how synthetic biology products should be regulated. COP12 agreed that risk assessment and regulations must tally with the ‘no-harm principle’ that activities avoid damaging the environment of other states or areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction.

But the highlight of the meeting, according to delegates, was the entering into force of a treaty signed four years ago that opens up access to genetic resources and a mandatory fair sharing of the benefits derived from them.

The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits arising from their utilisation to the CBD came into force on 12 October after the 50th ratification.
– See more at: http://www.scidev.net/global/biodiversity/news/biodiversity-deeper-role-sdgs.html#sthash.P1rHT8Ki.dpuf

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grist

A BEACON IN THE SMOG

kealiapondnationalwildliferefugeByron Chin
Hawaii’s Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge

http://grist.org/news/feds-move-to-restrict-neonic-pesticides-well-one-fed-at-least/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Daily%2520July%252021&utm_campaign=daily

By John Upton
Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge
Byron Chin
Hawaii’s Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge
So far the EPA has refused to ban use of neonicotinoid insecticides — despite mounting evidence that they kill bees and other wildlife, despite a ban in the European Union, despite a lawsuit filed by activists and beekeepers.

But if the EPA is somehow still unclear on the dangers posed by neonics, it need only talk to the official who oversees federal wildlife refuges in the Pacific Northwest and Pacific Ocean.

Kevin Foerster, a regional boss with the National Wildlife Refuge System, directed his staff this month to investigate where neonics are being used in the refuges they manage — and to put an end to their use. Foerster’s office is worried that farming contractors that grow grasses and other forage crops for wildlife and corn and other grains for human consumption on refuge lands are using neonic pesticides and neonic-treated seeds. There are also fears that agency staff are inadvertently using plants treated with the poisons in restoration projects.

“The Pacific Region will begin a phased approach to eliminate the use of neonicotinoid insecticides (by any method) to grow agricultural crops for wildlife on National Wildlife Refuge System lands, effective immediately,” Forster wrote in a July 9 memo that was obtained and published last week by the nonprofit Center for Food Safety. “Though there will be some flexibility during the transition and we will take into account the availability of non-treated seed, Refuge managers are asked to exhaust all alternatives before allowing the use of neonicotinoids on National Wildlife Refuge System Lands in 2015.”

An information sheet attached to the memo notes that “severe declines in bee fauna have been a driving force behind the growing concern with neonics,” but that other species are also being affected. The information sheet also warns that pesticide drift, leaching, and water runoff can push neonics into wildlife habitats near farmed lands.

The use of the pesticides in U.S. wildlife refuges has triggered outcries and lawsuits from groups that include the Center for Food Safety. “Federal wildlife refuges were established to protect natural diversity,” said Paige Tomaselli, an attorney with the center. “Allowing chemical companies to profit by poisoning these important ecosystems violates their fundamental purpose and mission.”

Foerster’s move will help protect nearly 9,000 acres of refuges in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Hawaii, and the Pacific Islands from ecosystem-ravaging poisons.

But the memo has significance beyond that. It confirms that wildlife experts within the federal government are acutely aware of the dangers that the poisons pose. Now we just need the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the EPA to talk to each other.

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International

TheNews

http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-3-249329-Farms-declared-eligible-to-export-mangoes-to-EU

Salman Siddiqui
Sunday, May 11, 2014
From Print Edition

KARACHI: The Pakistan Quarantine Department of Plant Protection (DPP) has so far declared only 15 farms of mangoes eligible to export the fruit to the Europe Union (EU) without hot water treatment, All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA) reported on Saturday.

However, majority of the farms located in Sindh will still have to treat the fruit to kill flies, as the DPP has so far declared only one farm eligible in the province to export the fruit without the treatment to EU nations, Waheed Ahmed, spokesman of the association, said after attending a meeting summoned by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research in Islamabad the other day.

The export of the fruit is set to start from May 25, while Sindh is the first province in the country that picks mangoes. Punjab follows Sindh in picking and exporting mangoes, it was learnt.

The food secretary chaired the said meeting. Another participant of the meeting Seerat Asghar Joura said that the department had initially estimated to declare eligible about 100 farms for the export with the treatment.

Tariq Khan, deputy director of DPP, said that the process of the inspection and registration of farms had yet not been over in the country. “This may remain lasted till Punjab starts producing and exporting the fruit sometime in July,” he said.

Officials of the quarantine department, which is responsible to make sure exporting pest and fruit fly-free mangoes to the world, have visited 35 orchards in Sindh and 36 orchards in Punjab so far.

The department has approved only one farm in Sindh to export the fruit without hot water treatment, while other 34 could not export their fruit without giving the treatment, sources said.

While in Punjab, the department has approved 14 orchards, rejected three and asked remaining 19 orchards to improve their standards to export their fruit without the treatment, they said.

There are only four with the approved treatment plants. Durrani Associates own three of them. Babar Durrani of the associates said that his company was charging Rs20 per kilogramme for the treatment.

“The treatment helps exporter to earn up to 50 percent additional revenue against those who export their fruits without the treatment,” Durrani said.

He, who also attended the meeting, said that exporting pest- and fly-free mangoes to EU was a serious challenge instead of an opportunity. If the EU bans Pakistan like it banned Indian mangoes in April might result into halt of exports of the fruit to many other counties as well, he said.

Durrani said that the meeting resolved to export only quality fruit to EU. “All exporters at the meeting agreed to set their focus on quality instead of quantity to EU nations,” he said.

Ahmed of PFVA said that the ministry had also approved exporting mangoes into boxes of weight of two kilogrammes, three kg, four kg, and five kg, and banned export of the fruit in 1.5 kg of box.

“The box of 1.5 kg cannot accommodate big size mangoes, while there are always chances of fruit flies in small size mangoes,” he said.

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https://www.ippc.int/

ABOUT US

The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) is an international agreement on plant health to which 181 signatories currently adhere. It aims to protect cultivated and wild plants by preventing the introduction and spread of pests. The Secretariat of the IPPC is provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. MEDIA KIT

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Complete List of Countries
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IRSS HELPDESK

Where can I find the report of the IRSS Survey: Review of the implementation of Guidelines on lists of regulated pests (ISPM19:2003) and Pest reporting (ISPM17:2002)?
Where can I find the latest IRSS Survey: Review of the implementation of Guidelines on lists of regulated pests (ISPM19:2003) and Pest reporting (ISPM17:2002)?
Do you have a simple floor plan for a post entry quarantine facility? If you can share it, please email us at ippc@fao.org with subject line: PEQ facility plan.
What happens if my country is not a member of the Madrid System for the international registration of marks ?
For those Contracting Parties who have submitted an IRSS questionnaire; how would you define the process of retrieving information and what was your NPPOs experience in conducting this activity?

 

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