crops

AGRICULTURE ‘THE MAIN PILLAR’ IN INDIA-ISRAEL RELATIONS

 

From the blossoming mango orchards of Haryana state to the drip-irrigated vegetable nurseries of Gujarat state, Israeli agricultural know-how has become a staple resource on farms across the Indian subcontinent.

“Undoubtedly, agriculture is at least one of the two main pillars in India-Israel relations – definitely the main pillar from the civilian angle,” said Gil Haskel, head of MASHAV – Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation in the Foreign Ministry.

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Experts believe the highly anticipated visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Israel in July will boost an already strong agricultural partnership between the countries, paving the way for new joint ventures in an ever-evolving industry.

Describing agriculture as “a key factor in the Indian economy and Indian livelihood,” Haskel said Modi is well aware of this fact and is investing significant funds in developing the sector.

“We want to use this visit – apart from it being very symbolically historic – as a cornerstone for the upgrading of these relations, specifically in the agricultural sector,” Haskel told The Jerusalem Post earlier this week.

Across India today, 15 of 27 planned Israeli “Centers of Excellence” are already thriving, showcasing Israeli agricultural expertise and providing Indian farmers with a value chain of know-how and practical tools. The Centers of Excellence are the fruits of the 2008 Indo-Israel Agriculture Project to which India contributes the physical infrastructure and Israel the innovation.

Overseeing the project are a number of bodies, including MASHAV; the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi; and the Agriculture Ministry’s CINADCO: The Center for International Agricultural Development Cooperation. From the Indian side, partners include the Agriculture Ministry’s Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture, as well as many state and federal governmental authorities.

The Centers of Excellence have become so popular on both a domestic and regional scale that they continuously attract guests from neighboring nations, including countries that have no contact whatsoever with Israel such as Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

“The idea during [Modi’s] visit is to sign a joint action plan that will specify the exact activity that both countries are planning in these Centers of Excellence and ways to upgrade these Centers of Excellence in the next three years,” Haskel said.

The terms of such an action plan, which Haskel said he could not specify at the moment, are under negotiation. During a visit by the Indian Agriculture Ministry’s director-general to Israel last week, however, both sides began identifying a number of key elements that are important to further developing the Indian agriculture sector, he added.

Also last week, Daniel Carmon, Israel’s ambassador in New Delhi, organized two days of brainstorming sessions with Indian and Israeli officials, academics and professionals to determine some of the next steps for the partners in both agriculture and water management.

“We don’t come with a recipe. We don’t come saying, ‘We have our experience from back home and let us tell you what you should have in India,’” Carmon told the Post.

Becoming a “think-tank” for those two days, the Israeli and Indian officials strategized about how they might best combine their respective areas of expertise to plan for “the next 25 years” of agricultural partnerships, he said.

“It is a dialogue,” Carmon said. “Usually, development comes from a demand-driven direction and not from not the foreigners who ‘know better,’ so to speak.”

Both Carmon and Haskel, as well as CINDACO head Yakov Poleg, identified water – and its management, conservation and reuse – as the next big focus area for the Israeli and Indian partners, both within the agricultural sector and beyond.

The officials also stressed the need to recruit members of the private sector to join forces with the government bodies to advance existing and future collaborative projects.

Only by taking this direction can the partners “have an impact in such a huge country like India,” Carmon said.

The Centers of Excellence are already “seeds of success, operation and cooperation” that are embracing new types of technologies – attitudes that are spreading to farms nearby these hubs, according to Poleg.

Yet, he and his colleagues agreed that integrating members of the private sector into this model will be key to the long-term vision of the partners.

“People here and in India are looking at what is the next step – how to convert these Centers of Excellence, which are centers of Israeli knowledge, into commercially viable business models,” Poleg said.

In Poleg’s mind, the Indian and Israeli partners must work to promote business-to-business cooperation through the existing Centers of Excellence, with an emphasis on local production and the involvement of local Indian companies.

While there are many ways to potentially involve the private sector in the centers, Poleg suggested introducing new crop varieties – such as those developed by the Israeli Agricultural Research Organization’s Volcani Center – and marketing them to the local business sector. Doing so would require arranging the necessary legal framework, as such intellectual property is easy to copy, but would enable the launch of a whole new chain of technologies alongside the crops, he said.

“Modi’s visit will energize the next stage of agricultural cooperation,” Poleg continued. “It will definitely encourage both governments to think more creatively about how to move to the next step – how to upgrade these existing Centers of Excellence, how to promote business-to-business in these Centers of Excellence.”

The visit, Carmon added, is also particularly historical when looking back at the 25 years of diplomatic relations between Israel and India – most of which were characterized by relatively low visibility. While Israel has long been appreciated and admired by India for helping develop the latter’s economy, food, water and security sectors, only recently did high level officials really begin visiting one and other in the public eye, he explained.

“In practice, we are doing so many things together,” Carmon said. “The visit will symbolize this and talk about where we stand now and where we want to go beyond those 25 years.”

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Monsanto (Owned By Jews and White Freemasons) Acquires Licensing Rights For “Genetically Edited” Crops (NOT GOOD!!!)

http://www.renegadetribune.com/monsanto-acquires-licensing-rights-genetically-edited-crops/

 

By Derrick Broze of Activist Post

The biotechnology giant Monsanto has now partnered with the Broad Institute to develop seeds using genetic or genome editing technology. 

On Thursday, Monsanto announced a new partnership with the Broad Institute, a project of MIT and Harvard that focuses on a biomedical and genomic research. The new partnership grants Monsanto non-exclusive licensing for agriculture applications of CRISPR-Cas technology for use in seed development.

“The license to CRISPR-Cas from the Broad Institute provides access to an exciting tool for our growing body of genome-editing research,” said Tom Adams, Ph.D., biotechnology lead for Monsanto. “Genome-editing technology is complementary to our ongoing discovery research and provides an incredible resource to further unlock our world-leading germplasm and genome libraries.”

Using CRISPR-Cas technology for seed development was also discussed by a team of Italian researchers in August 2014 in Trends in Biotechnology. The researchers examined the public backlash against Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and whether the public would be more receptive of Genetic Editing. The team was hopeful that “awareness of what makes these biotechnologies new and different” might lead to Genetically Edited Organisms (GEOs) being more widely accepted than their GMO counterparts.

While GM foods are created when foreign genes are inserted into a plant, genetic editing modifies“through the insertion, deletion, or altering of existing genes of interest,” which could be used to prevent a crop from turning brown. Monsanto is now hoping these differences will make the crops more marketable than GMO products.

Monsanto is not the only biotechnology company to invest in CRISPR technology. DuPont Pioneer has also struck a deal with Caribou Biosciences to license its own CRISPR crops. Monsanto and DuPont are hoping that both the public and the U.S. government are accepting of genetically edited crops. Technically, a crop edited via CRISPR is not a GMO, at least not in the fashion that most of the public understands.

Business Insider reports:

The US Department of Agriculture seems to agree, as does Monsanto. The USDA has already moved two crops made with Crispr — a type of mushroom and a type of corn — closer to grocery store shelves by opting not to regulate them like conventional GMOs. DuPont, the company making the corn, says it plans to see the crop in farmers’ fields in the next five years.

Based on the USDA’s decision not to regulate or label the genetically edited crops it is likely that Monsanto and DuPont will continue to invest in CRISPR technology. Business Insider notes that since 2013, “researchers have experimented with it in a number of crops, including oranges, potatoes, wheat, rice, and tomatoes.”

Another element of this story involves the use of CRISPR technology to create genetically engineered babies. In February 2016, Anti Media reported that Rathy Niakan, a stem cell scientist from London’s Francis Crick Institute, was granted a license to carry out experiments involving creating genetically engineered embryos using CRISPR-Cas9. This begs the question – do Monsanto and DuPont, companies with a history of involvement with bioweapons, have an interest in genetically engineered humans?

Genetically engineered human embryos and gene editing is reminiscent of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. It is also a theme in the 1997 film, Gattaca. In Gattaca, we see a future version of our world where genes decide one’s place in society. The practice amounts to an essential caste system. In this world, the wealthy and elite can afford to engineer their children and remove any possible “defects.” Those who are deemed genetically inferior are called “in-valids.” The film touches on genetic engineering, eugenics, and the moral implications of playing God with human life. Both Gattaca and Brave New World offer thought-provoking explanations of this new, growing reality.

What are your thoughts? Do you support Genetically Edited crops? Would you support CRISPR technology over GMOs? 


Derrick Broze is an investigative journalist and liberty activist. He is the Lead Investigative Reporter forActivistPost.com and the founder of the TheConsciousResistance.com. Follow him on Twitter. Derrick is the author of three books: The Conscious Resistance: Reflections on Anarchy and Spirituality and Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 1 and Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 2

Derrick is available for interviews. Please contact Derrick@activistpost.com

This article may be freely reposted in part or in full with author attribution and source link.

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Scotland Announces Total Ban on GM Crops

http://sustainablepulse.com/2015/08/09/scotland-announces-total-ban-on-gm-crops/#.VckdOiZVhBd

Growing genetically modified (GM) crops will not be permitted in Scotland, Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead has announced as he moved to protect Scotland’s clean, green status.

scotland gm crops

Mr Lochhead has confirmed that the Scottish Government intends to take advantage of new EU rules allowing countries to opt out of growing EU-authorised GM crops.

The Scottish Government will shortly submit a request that Scotland is excluded from any European consents for the cultivation of GM crops, including the variety of genetically modified maize already approved and six other GM crops that are awaiting authorisation.

The Cabinet Secretary said:

“Scotland is known around the world for our beautiful natural environment – and banning growing genetically modified crops will protect and further enhance our clean, green status.

“There is no evidence of significant demand for GM products by Scottish consumers and I am concerned that allowing GM crops to be grown in Scotland would damage our clean and green brand, thereby gambling with the future of our £14 billion food and drink sector.

“Scottish food and drink is valued at home and abroad for its natural, high quality which often attracts a premium price, and I have heard directly from food and drink producers in other countries that are ditching GM because of a consumer backlash.

“That is why I strongly support the continued application of the precautionary principle in relation to GM crops and intend to take full advantage of the flexibility allowed under these new EU rules to ban GM crops from being grown in Scotland.

“The Scottish Government has long-standing concerns about GM crops – concerns that are shared by other European countries and consumers, and which should not be dismissed lightly.

“I firmly believe that GM policy in Scotland should be guided by what’s best for our economy and our own agricultural sector rather than the priorities of others. I recently kicked off a national discussion on the future of Scottish agriculture, and welcome views from all sides of the GM debate.”

Background

Under EU rules, GM crops must be formally authorised before they can be cultivated in the EU geographical area.

The amendment to Directive 2001/18/EC came into force earlier this year and allows Member States and Devolved Administrations to restrict or ban the cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) within their territory.

The amended directive applies to new cultivation dossiers and not GMOs that have already been or are currently being considered for approval. Transitional arrangements have been put in place to enable Member States and Devolved Administrations to request that their territory is excluded from any consents in relation to applications that were received prior to April 2, 2015.

Member States/Regions wishing to use the transitional arrangements to opt out of growing EU approved GM maize MON 810 or any of the GM maize varieties currently awaiting EU approval must notify the European Commission by October 2, 2015.

Israel destroys thousands of acres of crops in Palestine

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/03/03/400102/Israel-ruins-acres-of-Palestine-crops

Thousands of acres of wheat and other cereal crops have been destroyed by Israeli police in the Palestinian Bedouin village of Rakhama in Negev.

According to Ali Freijat, a local resident, as many as 14 Israeli tractors escorted by in excess of 50 Israeli police vehicles destroyed the agricultural products and leveled the land early on Tuesday, Ma’an news agency reported.

“This is vandalism through which they plan to displace the Bedouins from the Negev so as to create a Jewish state free of Arabs,” Freijat added.

He further noted that the Israeli regime forces have been trying to confiscate the land for many years.

“However, my message to them is that if you turn over the land a million times, and if you demolish our homes a thousand times we will continue to live on this land and won’t allow anybody to take it from us,” he added.

Reports also said on Sunday that the Israeli regime plans to carry out more demolitions in an area populated by Palestinian Bedouins near al-Quds (Jerusalem).

Tel Aviv authorities say they want to build settlements and military structures in the area.

The demolition of Bedouin homes is part of Israel’s massive land grab plan, which will forcefully displace thousands of people.

In the Negev desert, Israel has already authorized the expulsion of tens of thousands of Bedouin Arabs from where they have lived for generations.

Bedouin villages in the desert frequently come under attack by Israeli forces. More than 150,000 Bedouins live in the occupied Palestinian territories, mostly in and around Negev.

Nearly half of Bedouins live in villages where Israel denies access to water and electricity.

Rights groups have repeatedly called for the Israeli regime to stop the demolition of the homes of Bedouins.

IA/SS