1.Monsanto research impresses
2.Hawaii: GM taro and GM coffee banned on Big Island
3.Mozambique: No GM Seeds
4.Kenya: Opposition to GM Bill
5.Australia: Councillors Vote For GM Free Crop Status
6.Australia: GrainCorp rethinks GM canola silo decision
7.Russian ag budget all for non-GM

NOTE: Look out for the links to resources (videos, articles and transcripts) re Monsanto, and also on the Schmeiser case, listed at the end of the comment section of item 1.

All the following items are taken from GM-free Ireland's excellent news page:

EXTRACT: the decision [that the silo would take only GM grian] has been reversed and it will take only conventional grain. Growers in the area are pleased and say it will save them delivering their grain to sites further away. Bendigo Mayor David Jones opposes the production of GM foods in the region, and welcomes the decision. (item 6)
1.Monsanto research impresses
Irish Farmers Journal, 11 October [shortened]

The IFA [Irish Farmers Association] county chairmen travelled to St. Louis, Missouri, with Monsanto's Patrick O'Reilly, to see the company's highly impressive research and development facility at Chesterfield. 

The IFA county chairmen were impressed not just with the technology, but with the openness with which Monsanto discussed their research.

The IFA leaders reached a clear conclusion: Europe cannot afford to fall further behind in the race to deploy new technologies in agriculture.

Comment from GM-free Ireland:

How gullible are the Irish Farmers Association's county chairmen who benefitted from their recent all-expenses-paid-by-Monsanto visit to the USA?

Do they know that Monsanto's GM crops are banned in Austria, France, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Switzerland (and de facto in Germany) because of their health and environmental risks?

Are they aware that Monsanto's GM maize has led to massive contamination of conventional and organic farmers in Spain - the only EU member state where it is still grown on a significant scale?

Do they realise that Monsanto intends to secure monopoly control of EU maize production?

Do they know that Monsanto co-owns patents on the "Terminator" sterile seed technology?

Are they aware that the WTO's Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement enables Monsanto to claim ownership of contaminated farmers' seeds and crops, and to file patent infringement lawsuits against farmers who refuse to pay annual patent royalties or who save and plant the GM seeds?

Do they know that Monsanto refuses to disclose the data from its own risk assessments of GM crops?

Do they understand that Monsanto's current GM crops do NOT have higher yields?

Do they realise that Monsanto's RoundUp weedkiller is highly toxic and not biodegradable?

Do they know about Monsanto's criminal track record of bribery, harassment, corruption and toxic pollution?

Are they aware that Monsanto has faced trial after trial because of the toxicity of its toxic PCBs and Agent Orange?

Do they realise that Monsanto is the world's most controversial company?

Not if they rely on the Irish Farmers Journal which takes advertising revenue from Monsanto.

For more information see:

Monsanto's Harvest of Fear: Monsanto gave the world Agent Orange and some of the most toxic sites in the U.S. As it tries to brand its genetically modified seeds as the solution to global hunger, and pushes its artificial growth hormone on milk producers, will the agribusiness giant stop at nothing to dominate the market? Vanity Fair, May 2008:

Democracy Now video interview with Vanity Fair contributing editor James Steele and co-author of the above article "Monsanto's Harvest of Fear". Monsanto already dominates America's food chain with its genetically modified seeds. Now it has targeted milk production. Just as frightening as the corporation's tactics - ruthless legal battles against small farmers - is its decades-long history of toxic contamination:

The World According to Monsanto, documentary film by Marie-Dominique Robin Broadcast internationally and distributed on DVD by ARTE. Available in English audio version:

GM-free Ireland interview with Percy Schmeiser at the Terra Madre conference 2004:

Percy Schmeiser's keynote address to the Green Ireland Conference, Kilkenny Castle, June 2006:

Online video speech by Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser who lost ownership of his seeds and crops after being contaminated by Monsanto's patented GM oilseed rape:
Part 1/3:
Part 2/3:
Part 3/3:
2.Hawaii: Council bans GMO taro, coffee
by Jim Quirk
West Hawaii Today

HILO -- The genetic modification of taro and coffee on the Big Island is now a banned practice.

The Hawaii County Council voted 9-0 Wednesday in favor of a bill from North Kona Councilman Angel Pilago on its second reading to ban genetically modified taro and coffee.

It was a circus-like atmosphere Wednesday in Hilo's Ben Franklin building, where the meeting was held. Children played in the hallways outside of the council chambers waiting for their chance to speak along with their parents. A man standing in the hallway corner sang as he strummed the strings of a guitar.

The council, meanwhile, listened to a different tune, one delivered by the seemingly endless convoy of residents who took turns at the microphone to give their two cents on the proposed ban.

About 70 residents testified in Hilo, while about 30 testified via teleconference from the council offices in Waimea and Kona. There have been no major complaints about banning genetically modified taro, but with coffee it's a different story.

On one side of the debate are those who believe genetic modification of coffee could eventually spell disaster for the island's coffee industry. Off-island buyers would not be interested in Kona coffee that has been purposely or accidentally genetically modified, the proponents believe.

Then there are residents who believe, among other things, without genetic modification of coffee, there will be no scientific answers when disease strikes and destroys Big Island coffee.

A vast majority of residents who spoke Wednesday said they were in favor of the ban.

Dr. Hector Valenzuela, a vegetable crops extension specialist with the University of Hawaii at Manoa, said he -- unlike all of his peers at the college -- supports the bill.

He said the scientific community should be concentrating on aspects of agricultural research, such as teaching farmers how to sustain crops without having to rely on chemicals, rather than genetic modification.

Bill proponent Chuck Moss, a Kona coffee farmer, said one potentiality of genetically modified coffee is that experiments in creating coffee trees without caffeine could spread to other trees. If that happened, it would be hard to market Kona coffee, he said.

"How can you tell the difference from a regular tree from a decaf tree, or a regular bean from a decaf bean?" Moss asked.

Hamakua Councilman Dominic Yagong furnished results of a poll he conducted recently that shows 82 percent of 89 Big Island coffee farmers support the bill.

He said during a separate interview that his office identified isle coffee farmers using the phone book, Internet and personal knowledge.

During a previous meeting, representatives of the Hawaii Coffee Council indicated a majority of island coffee farmers are against the bill, Yagong said, which is why he wanted to conduct a poll to find out for sure.

Hilo Councilman Stacy Higa, who voted against the bill on its first reading, said Yagong's survey changed his mind.

Mayor Harry Kim, who is still not back to work full time because of his recent heart attack, made an appearance early in the meeting and expressed concerns that the bill wouldn't allow genetic testing of coffee in the lab setting.

He requested the council consider developing a system where research at places like the University of Hawaii at Hilo would be able to continue.

Kim could attempt to veto the bill, but it seems unlikely it would succeed because of the unanimous council vote Wednesday.
3.Mozambique: No Genetically Modified Seeds in Green Revolution
Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, 10 October 2008 [shortened]

Maputo -- The "Green Revolution" in Mozambique does not depend on genetically modified seeds, Prime Minister Luisa Diogo assured the country's parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, on Thursday.

Winding up a two day debate in which the government had answered questions from deputies about the proposed "Green Revolution", and about the social security system, Diogo said that Ismael Mussa, a deputy from the main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, was quite wrong to assume that higher yields require genetically modified seeds.

"In fact, the use of genetically modified seeds in Mozambique is banned", said Diogo. "We are using improved seeds that are produced in Mozambique, but they have not been genetically modified. The only seeds we still need to import are for wheat".
4.Kenya: Societies write to Kibaki, Raila over GM crops Bill
By Elizabeth Mwai
The Standard, 8 October 2008 

NAIROBI, Kenya - International Civil Societies have appealed to President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to oppose the adoption of the Bio-Safety Bill 2008.

In an open letter, the 53 organisations cautioned the Bill would expose Kenyans to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

They said the Bill did not abide by the precautionary principles, relied on experience in other countries, had flawed regulatory structure and lacked public participation.

"We the undersigned groups representing a broad of range of constituencies from around the world are writing to urge you to oppose the adoption of the Bio-Safety Bill 2008, which is similar to the lapsed Bio Safety Bill 2007,"the published letter stated.

The civil societies said studies had shown that genetically modified crops posed risks to humans, farm animals, wildlife and the environment. It adds that effects to human health include: higher risks of toxicity, allergencity, antibiotic resistance, immune suppression and cancer.

They said the use of GMOs increased the potential for contamination of non-genetically modified crops.

Lax Laws

The societies asked the President to consider the experiences of countries like the United States and South Africa that had approved GMOs.

They claimed lax regulation and an automated bias towards approving new GMOs had not served US and South Africa society well.

They alleged that failure of the US regulatory system saw widespread contamination of rice supply with an unapproved GM variety.

"Kenya has an opportunity not to repeat the mistakes made by the US and South Africa when it comes to regulating this technology," the letter said.
5.Australia: Councillors Vote For GM Free Crop Status
East Gippsland Shire Council (Victoria) press release, 10 October 2008

East Gippsland Shire Council last night supported and approach to State government for East Gippsland to be declared a zone free of Genetically Modified crops. The agreement was reached following extensive debate on a motion put by Cr Jane Rowe that Council

1. write to the Premier to ask the State Government to:
a) use its power to create GM and GM-free areas and to declare our municipality a GM-free Zone (a policy principle made under Section 21 of the Commonwealth Gene Technology Act 2000 gives all state these powers); and
b) establish a public on-line register (including maps) showing all GM release sites in Victoria - both experimental and commercial - so those who want to stay GM-free (including farmers, beekeepers, etc) can avoid those sites.
2. declare the Council's jurisdiction a GM-free zone by:
a) posting GM-free zone signage at the entrance to the municipality (sample at www.;
b) publicly signing and distributing a GM-free Zone Declaration;
c) publicising the GM-free zone declaration in local media, on the website and on notice boards; and
d) asking local businesses and organisations to support the GM-free zone by signing on to a GM-free statement.

3. write to Commonwealth and State Health and Agriculture Ministers, advocating:
a) all foods made using GM technology and processes are to be fully labelled; and
b) strict liability laws are enacted to hold GM companies fully responsible for GM contamination.
6.GrainCorp rethinks GM canola silo decision
ABC News (Australia), 13 October 2008

GrainCorp has changed its mind about the use of a silo, north of Bendigo, for genetically modified (GM) canola this season.

The Raywood silo was to be used for GM canola only.

But, the decision has been reversed and it will take only conventional grain.

Growers in the area are pleased and say it will save them delivering their grain to sites further away.

Bendigo Mayor David Jones opposes the production of GM foods in the region, and welcomes the decision.

"It also does probably indicate that the GE [genetically engineered] crop hasn't been as successful under these condition, under these drought conditions, and of course we do have grave concerns about the farmers and the way the season is turning out, this may be a matter more about circumstance than any sort of decision around the theory of GE," he said.
7.Russian government will allocate 15 billion rubles for agriculture till the end of the year
RUVR - The Voice of Russia, 12 October 2008

The Russian government will allocate 15 billion rubles for agriculture till the end of the year, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said at the opening ceremony of the 10th " Golden Autumn" agro-industrial exhibition.

Mr. Putin said the government will continue to pay special attention to the development of the national agricultural sector, industrial security and innovations in agrarian industry. The exhibition brought together more than 2,000 companies from Russia and 30 more countries. Brazil, Spain, Finland, France and Ukraine have joined for the first time.

All the participants are obliged to present non-genetically modified food.