A robot which categorizes soy bean plants according to their capacity to resist drought and make better use of the water resource has been developed by a bio-technology group of Mercosur researchers in Argentina, with European Union support.
Argentina decreed the dissolution of the controversial ONCCA, (Office for the commercial control of agriculture produce) which was directly involved in market regulation and distribution of subsidies and as such caused much irritation and criticism particularly from farmers’ organizations.
The amount of land devoted to genetically engineered crops grew 10% last year, and 7% in the year before, as farmers in major grain and soy exporting countries such as Brazil and Argentina continued to adopt the new seeds.
A good crop year for Argentine farmers and the government: export revenue will be up 4 billion US dollars and the tax man will bag an additional 888 million US dollars according to estimates from local grain dealers.
Brazil reiterated opposition to a French plan to impose regulation on commodity prices, saying it could have negative effects on major suppliers such as itself. Brazil is totally opposed to a mechanism of control or regulation of commodity prices, Finance Minister Guido Mantega told reporters, reiterating a position he gave last week.
Recent research has concluded that 10% of the rice sold in China’s markets is likely to be tainted with heavy metals, but agricultural experts said the pollution is confined to particular regions and there is no call for panic.
Countries anxious to avoid a repeat of the 2007-2008 global food crisis when they were caught short of grain supplies, have stepped up their buying programs and are driving prices to new highs.
United States farmers have planted the biggest crop in thirteen years according to a report released by the US Department of Agriculture which estimated the area sown to the eight major field crops in 2011 at 103.3 million hectares.
The Paraguayan government is working with Congress to agree on budget cuts and possible tax increases, (levies on beef and soybean exports) that should help balance 2011 expenditure and revenue.
Chilean farmers and produce distributors estimate that prices will increase for some fruits and vegetables by as much as 10 to 20% within the next 60 days, due to water shortages in northern and central Chile.