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GE - a few from NLP



We have recieved unconfirmed reports from our contacts in the Ukraine that:
1) Ukrainian Members of Parliament are currently seeking a disussion on GMOs 
2)The Ukraininan press has announced that GM "Newleaf potaoes" 
will be available this year in the Ukraine to help the week-end gardeners 
in the Kiev region to get rid of the "colorado bugs". 
3)and that next year the whole country (all the collective farms) will be 
taking advantage of 
this great scientific advancement!...
Greenpeace issued a report in 1998 revealing how this technology is being 
introduced 
into the Ukraine in an almost completely unregulated fashion.
Please forward this message to any contacts you may have in the Ukraine and 
the former Soviet 
Bloc.
===============
(Thanks to the FOOD BYTES #17 March 2, 1999 edition for these two 
gm agronomic problems stories in the US 
NATURAL LAW PARTY WESSEX 
nlpwessex@bigfoot.com 
www.btinternet.com/~nlpwessex )

1)The mid-January 1999 issue of the California Farmer magazine reports that 
Bt resistance has emerged among pink bollworms, a major cotton pest, in 
Arizona cotton fields Biotech critics have warned for years that 
genetically engineered Bt crops will cause major crop pests to develop 
resistance to Bt, thereby destroying the usefulness of the world's most 
important natural biopesticide.
2)Almost 200 cotton farmers in Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina are 
suing Monsanto for damages after crop failures of Monsanto's Bt and Roundup 
Ready cotton seeds, according to a news story in the Augusta (Georgia) 
Chronicle on Jan. 25.
In a separate lawsuit 25 cotton farmers in Texas, 
Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Louisiana are suing Monsanto for fraud and 
misrepresentation--also in regard to Bt cotton crop failures.
============
Participation in GM crops is costing US farmers heavily - no wonder their 
domestic farm prices are facing collapse.
According to a Reuters report issued today (March 3 1999):
"Last year, U.S. growers exported only three million bushels of corn to the 
EU, down sharply from 70 million in the previous year. The drop was blamed 
on EU delays in approving several varieties of genetically-modified corn 
grown in the United States."
In the current climate it is difficult to see EU consumers buying such corn 
anyway even if EU approval is given. This is a gift to hard pressed EU 
farmers trying to compete against cheap imports provided they stay GM free.
Losing a 70 million bushel export market in one fell swoop shows how little 
American farmers know about matching their production to markets. This 
follows on from Canada losing the whole of its EU oilseed rape market 
because of non-segregation of GM varieties.
As the Americans love reminding us in all other sectors: "The customer is 
always right." British farmers take note!
==========
GM CROPS AND OVER CONCENTRATION OF POWER IN US FOOD PROCESSORS

The article below does not mention the pivotal role of genetic engineering
in the
massive process of consolidation taking place in global agri-business.
However, a recent report issued by the University of Missouri on behalf of
the† National Farmers Union in America has highlighted the role of 'access
to
biotechnology rights' in this process.

``The trend to a privately centralised food system puts our food security
in great jeopardy,'' US NFU president Leland Swenson said, in urging a
moratorium on large-scale mergers in the agricultural sector, according to a
Reuters
report. "They (farmers) are going to find themselves having to go out and be
contract growers", added Swenson.

The Washington AP NEWS report below (thanks to UK dairy farmer Jim
Webster for
forwarding this to us) indicates that the US political establishment is
finally waking up to what is going on and the damaging implications for the
farming community.
When will the penny drop within the UK agriculture sector?

Commenting on the role of genetically engineered crops in the UK's Farmers
Weekly
last November Friedrich Vogel, head of agrochemical giant BASF's crop
protection business,
openly highlighted the emerging situation:† "Farmers will be given just
enough to keep them
interested in growing the crops, but no more.† And GM companies and food
processors, will say very clearly how they want the growers to grow the
crops."

The near monopoly powers currently exercised over UK farmers by the major
food
retailers are as nothing compared to what lies in store for them as the
biotechnology
industry rapidly absorbs both the seed-supply and food processing sectors.

Although expressing little or no reservation about this rapidly developing
situation, leading UK farm business
consultants, Andersons, draw further attention to the emerging controling
role of biotechnology in the
food chain in its 1999 "Outlook" report.† With reference to GM crops
Andersons comment:

"....savings in input costs of £10 to £ 20 per hectare, shared between
farmer, merchant and breeder are
not sufficient to justify a substantial return to the biotech companies
pioneering this technology.

A far greater economic return is available to the food processor who, given
a specific crop quality characteristic, could derive substantial value from
a better end product or a more efficient manufacturing process.† Closed loop
deals between these end users and the biotech companies offer one method of
obtaining true return on investment without losing value to the industry in
general."

It is questionable as to how this tighter overall grip over the food chain
both upstream and downstream of the farm is likely to financially benefit
British growers in the longer term.

Although drawing attention to
relatively marginal claimed input cost savings for farmers from GM crops,
the Anderson report does not refer to recent independent trials carried out
by the UK's National Institute for Agricultural Botany which reveal that
yields from genetically modified oilseed rape and sugar beet are
substantially lower than for
non-modified crops (for more information on low yields from GM crops and
other GM agronomic problems, please visit our web site).† These crops are at
the front of the
UK GM approval pipeline.

Putting to one side for a moment the even more crucial environmental and
social
issues it raises, in this context there must now be a serious question mark
against the economic
sustainability of this technology.

The costs of its development are so
enormous and the direct benefits so dimly visible that it is becoming clear
that the only way for† biotechnology companies to gain an adequate return
for their shareholders is to develop sufficient quasi-monopolistic strength.
This is being
aimed at through clear attempts to engineer biotechnology links throughout
the food chain.


As widely reported recently in the British Press the name 'Sainsbury', for
example, is no
longer solely associated with immense influence in the food retailing
sector but is now also linked to the biotechnology industry as well.† As the
article below reveals the pervasive influence of large food-chain
corporations is now causing great concern in the US farming community too.
Cargill (the giant grain merchants), who are specifically referred to in the
report, now have a major tie up with biotechnology giant Monsanto.

Let the farmer beware.


NATURAL LAW PARTY WESSEX
nlpwessex@bigfoot.com
<http://www.btinternet.com/~nlpwessex>www.btinternet.com/~nlpwessex
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------


Date: 03 March 1999 00:51
Subject: Over concentration of power in US food processors.


>
>WASHINGTON (AP) -- A bipartisan coalition of nearly two dozen
>senators is pressing President Clinton to launch a full examination
>of concentration within agriculture.
>``While thousands of farmers are being forced out of agriculture
>due to collapsed commodity prices, many of our nation's food
>processors are posting exceptional returns and record profits,''
>the senators wrote in a letter sent Monday.
>The coalition, led by Sens. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and Chuck
>Hagel, R-Neb., asked the administration to complete a ``full-scale,
>detailed examination'' within six months.
>``Agricultural commodity markets, particularly in livestock,
>have become tilted against the producer and are failing to provide
>effective competitive returns,'' the letter said.
>America's farm sectors already were still reeling from last
>year's low prices when the Agriculture Department last week
>predicted another year of low prices and lagging exports, lowering
>U.S. farm export projections to $49 billion, compared with last
>year's $53.6 billion.
>``It is important that Congress have a clear picture regarding
>the impacts of the rapid increase in market concentration in
>agriculture and what steps may need to be taken,'' the letter said.
>The Clinton administration established an interagency panel last
>year to look at concentration, and several agencies within the
>Agriculture Department are conducting their own studies.
>``We have to address the changing structure of agriculture,''
>Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman told a forum last week as he
>released the price and export projections.
>The problem of concentration came to prominence in November when
>Cargill Inc. of Minneapolis, the nation's No. 1 grain company,
>announced plans to buy the worldwide operations of second-ranked
>Continental Grain Co. The Justice Department is reviewing the
>proposed merger.
>Since then, both the House and Senate have held hearings. Some
>lawmakers have pressed for a meeting with Attorney General Janet
>Reno.
>According to USDA figures, as of 1997, the four largest packing
>firms accounted for 80 percent of cattle slaughter, 54 percent of
>hog slaughter and 70 percent of sheep slaughter.
>-=-=-
>†††††††††††††††††††††††††† AP NEWS
>†††††††††††††† The Associated Press News Service
>†††††††††††† Copyright 1998 by The Associated Press
>††††††††††††††††††††† All Rights Reserved
>
>The information contained in the AP News report may not be published,
>broadcast or redistributed without the prior written authority of
>The Associated Press.
>
>WASHINGTON (AP) -- A bipartisan coalition of nearly two dozen
>senators is pressing President Clinton to launch a full examination
>of concentration within agriculture.
>``While thousands of farmers are being forced out of agriculture
>due to collapsed commodity prices, many of our nation's food
>processors are posting exceptional returns and record profits,''
>the senators wrote in a letter sent Monday.
>The coalition, led by Sens. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and Chuck
>Hagel, R-Neb., asked the administration to complete a ``full-scale,
>detailed examination'' within six months.
>``Agricultural commodity markets, particularly in livestock,
>have become tilted against the producer and are failing to provide
>effective competitive returns,'' the letter said.
>America's farm sectors already were still reeling from last
>year's low prices when the Agriculture Department last week
>predicted another year of low prices and lagging exports, lowering
>U.S. farm export projections to $49 billion, compared with last
>year's $53.6 billion.
>``It is important that Congress have a clear picture regarding
>the impacts of the rapid increase in market concentration in
>agriculture and what steps may need to be taken,'' the letter said.
>The Clinton administration established an interagency panel last
>year to look at concentration, and several agencies within the
>Agriculture Department are conducting their own studies.
>``We have to address the changing structure of agriculture,''
>Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman told a forum last week as he
>released the price and export projections.
>The problem of concentration came to prominence in November when
>Cargill Inc. of Minneapolis, the nation's No. 1 grain company,
>announced plans to buy the worldwide operations of second-ranked
>Continental Grain Co. The Justice Department is reviewing the
>proposed merger.
>Since then, both the House and Senate have held hearings. Some
>lawmakers have pressed for a meeting with Attorney General Janet
>Reno.
>According to USDA figures, as of 1997, the four largest packing
>firms accounted for 80 percent of cattle slaughter, 54 percent of
>hog slaughter and 70 percent of sheep slaughter.
>-=-=-
>†††††††††††††††††††††††††† AP NEWS
>†††††††††††††† The Associated Press News Service
>†††††††††††† Copyright 1998 by The Associated Press
>††††††††††††††††††††† All Rights Reserved
>
>The information contained in the AP News report may not be published,
>broadcast or redistributed without the prior written authority of
>The Associated Press.
>
>
>
>
>