Food and Agriculture in 2 Minutes
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Center for Science in the Public Interest’s Gregory Jaffe questions if the Trump Administration will prioritize biotechnology laws. He voices support for the recent US Department of Agriculture rural prosperity report that highlights the value of biotech innovation, asserting it’s a critical tool in enabling American farmers to produce more sustainability and effectively. Noting the report recommends streamlining biotech regulations, Jaffe voices hope that the Administration will determine regulations that incorporate effective communication with the public to boost consumer acceptance.
Meanwhile, CropLife America reports that the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill recently passed by the US House of Representatives could reduce tariffs on imported materials necessary to produce farm input products. They applaud the House’s action, noting this bill helps American producers achieve more success and better compete with global counterparts. CropLife America voices hope the Senate will take note of the urgency and pass the bill so it can be signed into law.
In global news, The Economist Magazine examines the challenges in controlling the fall armyworm’s invasion into most sub-Saharan nations. The pest, a South American moth species, has rapidly spread across the continent over the past two years and is threatening food production, especially maize crops. To fight the infiltration, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization hopes to teach farmers proper pesticide techniques. However, the article asserts a long term solution to prevent hunger would be planting pest-resistant GM crops, voicing a need for African nations to lift the ban on GM crops.
In other pest discussions, Julie Guthman examines the Californian strawberry industry’s heavy reliance on chemicals in an article for The Conversation. The UC Santa Cruz professor, who has studied the industry for five years, asserts that chemical-free production is nearly impossible due to soil-borne pests. She explains that the entire production system relies on fumigation to prevent soil disease and maintain crop yields. Noting even organic growers don’t have long term solutions, she contends there are no alternatives that are as effective or safe to sustain the industry.
Maya Menon, Washington.