What we’ve been reading this week

This week’s summary on the news stories, reports and blogs that have grabbed our attention. We welcome your thoughts and comments on these articles.

The future of DFID, partnerships, aid and INGOs, c/o Alex Evans, From Poverty to Power

GE Critics Range as Skeptics. Groups Offer Scientific Panel a Range of Suggestions to Study Biotech Foods, The Progressive Farmer

Scientists praise and challenge FAO on agroecology, IATP

The Expanding Possibilities of Family Farmers, Roger Thurow

Cross-bred crops get fit faster, Nature

World hunger falls, but 805 million still chronically undernourished, FAO

Beyond Plant Breeding: Agro-Ecological Solutions for Climate-Smart Agriculture, Global Food for Thought

Documents reveal how poultry firms systematically feed antibiotics to flocks, Reuters

African Green Revolution Forum: Matters arising, Peoples Daily

Super bananas – world first human trial, Queensland University of Technology

ROUND-UP:Can Ban Ki-moon’s summit help build a global movement for climate action?, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Seafood labels and sourcing to become clearer thanks to new code, The Guardian

Not so mega? The risky business of large-scale public-private partnerships in African agriculture, From Poverty to Power

What we’ve been reading this week

This week’s summary on the news stories, reports and blogs that have grabbed our attention. We welcome your thoughts and comments on these articles.

Why nutrition-smart agriculture matters, Devex

The next steps for Africa to meet its potential, The Washington Post

Limited potential of no-till agriculture for climate change mitigation, Powlson et al, Nature Climate Change

Getting caught with our plants down: the risks of a global crop yield slowdown from climate trends in the next two decades, Lobell and Tebaldi, Environmental Research Letters.

Smart Aid for the World’s Poor, The Wall Street Journal

Crops v conservation: how farmers can solve the dilemma, Financial Times

Food, farming and antibiotics: a health challenge for business, The Guardian

Farm manager plays leading role in postharvest loss, EurekAlert [Read more…]

Antiobiotic use on organic apples and pears

ID-1005279 (2)Think organic farming doesn’t use harmful compounds, think again. As the expiry date for the use of the antibiotics, Streptomycin and Oxytetracycline, on organic apple and pear farming in the US approaches, much debate has arisen over the standards for organic farming and food labelling.

Apples and pears are subject to an infection called Fire Blight, which can devastate entire orchards For that reason organic farmers have received an exemption allowing them to spray certain antibiotics to tackle this disease. In 2002 when the US Department of Agriculture’s national organic labelling standards went into effect the two antibiotics were included in a list of ‘allowed’ compounds subject to periodic review. This exemption is set to expire in October 2014, which supposedly allowed time to develop new, non-antibiotic, methods of control. But as 2014 approaches and a viable alternative is still lacking, some groups are battling for an extension on this expiry date.

Last week the National Organic Standards Board met to discuss a petition from organic farmers to extend the exemption. They rejected this petition and use of the antibiotic Oxytetracyline will not be allowed beyond the existing expiration date. In six months’ time the Board will meet again to discuss the use of Streptomycin. [Read more…]