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18th September , 2013

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TOP Contents - Tailored for YOU Latest News Headlines…  Ministry of Agriculture of Guyana : Rice industry poised to exceed 2013 target -Minimal paddy bug damage recorded thus far in second crop  Concerns growing over worsening food security in Sri Lanka  Central farmers blame govt for overlooking their plight  BAAC asks Finance Ministry to guarantee rice loans  DA bucks Thailand’s fixed rice shipments  Farmers call anew for hike in NFA’s palay-buying price  MP govt exempts rice miller from purchase tax  More success for Ord rice trials  Rice processing will be critical by 2030 says Bühler  Tufts University 'apologises' over GM rice trial that used children, says Chinese media  Tufts University: Study promoting GMO ‘golden rice’ violated ethics rules

NEWS DETAILS: Ministry of Agriculture of Guyana : Rice industry poised to exceed 2013 target -Minimal paddy bug damage recorded thus far in second crop 09/17/2013 | 09:00pm US/Eastern

The rice industry is set to exceed the 2013 target of 450,000 tonnes by approximately 80,000 tonnes. Agriculture Minister, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy posited that with a remarkable achievement of 263,528 tonnes in the first crop, the second crop may very well take the production beyond 500,000 tonnes.Approximately 75,000 hectares of rice land has been cultivated for this second crop, for which harvesting has already commenced. The first crop saw the cultivation of about 82,000 hectares.Thus far, about six to eight percent of rice has been harvested throughout the regions and the early indications are that farmers are having a good crop with a fairly good yield, averaging approximately 35 bags of paddy per acre (five-and-a-half tonnes per hectare).If the rest of the crop maintains that level of yield which we fully expect, of course it could get better, but we don't expect it would be worse. We expect that this crop would produce far in excess of 220,000 tonnes of rice," Minister Ramsammy stated.He reminded that in the late 1980s and early 90s, rice production averaged 100,000 tonnes for a whole year, now the target is being exceeded by that amount.

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He explained however, that the first crop could have easily passed 300,000 tonnes had it not been for two major challenges. These are: a drought and the paddy bug infestation, which are not unique to Guyana or unusual for rice industries around the world.With regards to the paddy bug infestation, Essequibo was the hardest hit rice cultivating area. In the second crop, it was predicted that the entire industry, especially in Regions Two, Four, Five and Six was heading for a serious paddy bug problem. In light of this, the Ministry intensified its surveillance and involved farmers in a number of precautionary initiatives. "We can't say how successful we have been thus far until more rice is harvested, what we can say however, is that in this initial stage, we have seen encouragingly very little impact of paddy bug," Minister Ramsammy stated. This means that the interventions made by the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), the Rice Producers' Association (RPA) and indeed the farmers themselves, have borne fruit. Thus far in Essequibo, about 10-15 percent of the rice crop has been harvested and the damage seen is below five percent. Last year, the rice industry was the star performer in the agriculture industry, with Region Five producing 37 percent of the total quantity of rice, exceeding 150,000 tonnes. Region Six recorded 108,000 tonnes or 25 percent of the overall production followed by Regions Two, Three and Four, in terms of their production.

Concerns growing over worsening food security in Sri Lanka Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Wed, 18 Sep 2013 06:15 AM Author: Amantha PereraMore news from our correspondents A farmer in the village of Somapura, is the eastern district of Tricomalee in Sri Lanka, inspects his paddy rice crop. THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION/Amantha Perera

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Longterm interventions are essential to stem deteriorating food security among victims of frequent extreme weather events in Sri Lanka, experts warn.In the last 20 months, parts of Sri Lanka have been hit by a severe drought and two bouts of floods that experts at the World Food Programme (WFP) and the government say have worsened the food security of victims.In the last five years, according to UN estimates, between 3.5 million and 4 million people out of a population of little over 20 million have been affected by natural disasters in Sri Lanka.Ismail Omer, the WFP country head for Sri Lanka, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that his organisation fears that in some parts of the country, food security has fallen to the levels seen in 2011, when the country had just begun to recover from a decades-long civil conflict that ended only in May 2009.

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Overall the WFP estimates that at least 1.2 million people in the country are in need of food aid.In 2011, WFP and other agencies estimated that at least 60 percent of the population in the country‘s north and east were food insecure and in need of food assistance. This was the region where the conflict was most intense.By the middle of last year, according to WFP estimates, just 40 percent of people in that region still needed help. But subsequent drought and the floods have destroyed harvests in Sri Lanka‘s northern, eastern, north western, north central and southern regions.―Just within the last twelve months, approximately half a million people were first affected by drought resulting in reduced harvest yields in September-October 2012, then a cyclone before Christmas 2012 followed by severe flooding in the beginning of 2013 affecting harvest yields,‖ Omer said.In some parts of the island‘s eastern and northwestern regions – both vital areas for production of rice, the national staple - harvest losses were estimated to be around 30 percent.This year, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organsiation, the paddy rice harvest is expected to recover and yield more than 4.1 million metric tonnes for the first time in about five years. SMALL-SCALE FARMERS STRUGGLING However according to Liyanapathirana Rupasena, a director at the Hector Kobbekaduwa Agararian Research Institute (HARTI), many small-scale farmers are yet to recover.―These are farmers who hold one hectare or less. More often than not they fund each crop with loans. When harvests fail, one after the other, they find it hard to recover,‖ he said.According to a study by the Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka, 70 percent of the estimated two million rice farmers in Sri Lanka own one hectare or less.One is Wijerathane Thenakoon, a 47year-old rice farmer from North Central Anuradhapura District, who has been planting a one-acre (0.4 hectare) plot of rice for the last 30 years. His farming income, which has been dwindling year by year, is the sold source of support for his family of five, including three school going children.―Honestly, I don‘t think I can recover from the losses of the last two years. If this harvest does not give me a good income, I will sell off the plot,‖ said Thenakoon, who owes debts of around Rs 200,000 ($1,400). His annual income from his paddy harvest is around Rs 175,000 ($1,200), he said. He received emergency relief after the floods in December but nothing thereafter.Experts like Rupasena warn that when incomes dwindle, farmers like Thenakoon will cut down on expenditure that they feel is nonessential. ―Education and health expenses are right on top of this list. Many feel they can defer these,‖ said W.L. Sumathipala, the former head of the government‘s Climate Change Unit.A survey conducted by the WFP and HARTI in 10 of the worst-affected districts hit by floods in January this year found that 41 percent of those surveyed were eating less preferred foods, skipping meals and incurring debt.Just as worrying, ―a review of the reported natural disaster impacts during the past eight years indicates a trend of increasing frequency of events,‖ said a U.N. Humanitarian Bulletin on the first half of this year.Sumathipala said one of the biggest obstacles to bringing change was lack of funding. Funding constraints have already hampered relief work targeting those affected by the latest disasters. Due to lack of funding, the WFP did not proceed with a $2.6 million programme to provide assistance to 60,000 of the half million people affected by floods in January this year, officials said. Rupasena said that due to the growing frequency of weather disasters - currently there are fears that a moderate drought has again begun in Sri Lanka‘s northwestern regions - plans should be put in place to maintain buffer

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stocks and emergency supplies or funding to assist in such emergencies.More effort also should be put into trying to better predict future disasters, he said.Constant monitoring of food security levels in disaster-affected communities and long-term investment in flood mitigation prgrammes, such as renovating irrigation canals and rehabilitating damaged water networks, also could help, WFP official said.Floods are most common natural disaster in Sri Lanka, accounting for 41 percent of all people affected by disasters. Amantha Perera is a freelance writer based in Sri Lanka.

Central farmers blame govt for overlooking their plight Wednesday, 18 September 2013By MCOT

AYUTTHAYA, Sept 18 – Farmers in the Central region have charged the government with ignoring their problem of deteriorating paddy prices and their request to extend the rice pledging programme.Vichien Puanglamjiak, president of the Thai Farmers Association, said the government was insincere to farmers after it decided to postpone the mobile Cabinet meeting indefinitely.' The meeting was originally scheduled in the central province of Lopburi on Thursday and Friday.He said farmers‘ request to extend the rice purchasing scheme to the end of this month has fallen onto deaf ears, creating dissatisfaction among farmers who threatened to seal off roads to block traffic – following the way done by rubber growers in southern ThailandThe government has pledged paddy price at Bt15,000/tonne but rice traders would not buy paddy at higher than Bt7,000/tonne, he said.In the rice-planting province of Ayutthaya, an official report says 228,883 tonnes of rice in the second crop would be harvested this month but farmers would manage to sell only 145,750 tonnes within the deadline of the rice pledging programme.

BAAC asks Finance Ministry to guarantee rice loans Published: 18 Sep 2013 :Newspaper section: Business

Public Debt Management Office (PDMO) to guarantee 170 billion baht in loans of the 270-billion-baht budget for the rice pledging scheme in the next harvest year, with the rest derived from selling stockpiled rice."It is a duty of the Commerce Ministry to release rice from stockpiles to fund the programme," Boonthai Kaewkhuntee,

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a senior executive vice-president of the state-owned BAAC, said yesterday. "But the Finance Ministry must take responsibility to seek a source of funding if the Commerce Ministry does not have sufficient funding in the early stage."The Commerce Ministry has paid back about 10 billion baht a month to the BAAC as part of the ministry's goal to repay 220 billion baht by year-end. So far the ministry has paid 150 billion baht to the BAAC, said Mr Boonthai.PDMO director-general Chularat Suteethorn previously said 250 billion baht in loan guarantees from the office were available for the next harvest year, which begins next month.The rice pledging scheme has endured strong criticism over its buying price set at 40-50% higher than global prices and a loss of 137 billion baht in the first year.Even so, the government has persisted in the scheme by approving a 270-billion-baht budget for the next harvest year after the first 500-billion-baht budget and an additional 166 billion baht secured from the BAAC has been spent.The government has slightly revised its buying price. The price for paddy from the main crop has been maintained at 15,000 baht a tonne for white rice and 20,000 baht a tonne for fragrant jasmine rice, but the pledge amount is capped at 500,000 baht per household.The main crop programme runs from this Oct 1 to next Feb 28. The price for second-crop paddy has been reduced to 13,000 baht a tonne, with a maximum pledge amount of 300,000 baht per household.The second crop programme runs from next March 1 to Sept 30, 2014.

DA bucks Thailand’s fixed rice shipments By Anna Leah G. Estrada | Posted on September 18, 2013 at 12:02am | 274 views

The government on Tuesday rejected Thailand‘s request for a guaranteed level of rice exports to the Philippines under the World Trade Organization.―Thailand is requesting for an increase in allocation and a guaranteed purchase of their allocation which is against our Procurement Law. Even with government-to-government procurement, there must be a bidding,‖ Agriculture Undersecretary Segfredo Serrano said.The Philippines is in talks with other WTO members for the extension of the quantitative restriction on rice imports until 2017. The QR on rice allows the government to limit the volume of imported rice entering the country to prevent possible drop in prices and protect local farmers.WTO members, however, want to make a concession with the Philippines for a greater access of the local market.The Philippines, under the WTO, committed to a minimum access volume of 350,000 metric tons of rice, with a tariff rate of 40 percent annually. The MAV refers to the minimum volume of farm produce allowed to enter the Philippines with a 40-percent tariff, while shipments outside MAV pay higher rates

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Farmers call anew for hike in NFA’s palay-buying price Category: Agri-Commodities :Published on Wednesday, 18 September 2013 19:10 Rice farmers again asked the National Food Authority (NFA) to consider the possibility of increasing its buying price for palay or unmilled rice which is currently pegged at P17 per kilogram.This was confirmed by the NFA in a statement it issued on Wednesday. The food agency attached to the Department of Agriculture (DA) said rice farmers made the appeal in view of the additional production costs they incur due to more expensive farm inputs.The NFA said the support price of P17 per kilo will remain in place but the agency assured farmers that it will study the matter.Last year the food agency had been asked to consider the possibility of increasing its buying price. The NFA had expressed apprehension that increasing its support price for palay would increase the losses it incurs and the price of commercial rice.The NFA buys palay from farmers as a way of protecting them from unscrupulous traders since the government‘s palay procurement program stabilizes the farmgate price of their produce.The stability in farmgate prices coupled with the infusion of NFA rice stocks in the domestic market shield consumers from volatility in the price of commercial rice.The NFA said farmer-members from the national and regional Farmers Advisory Board and National Confederation of Irrigators Association from Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon and Ilocos region made the request in a recent meeting with the agency and the DA last week.Farmers‘ groups also asked the food agency to ready their procurement budget and logistics with the start of the harvest season.Rice millers, meanwhile, appealed to Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala to intervene on their behalf regarding the government‘s anti-overloading campaign. The anti-overloading law is suspended until January 31, 2014. Once implemented, rice millers said this will have an adverse effect on the price of rice because transport costs would increase.Some 150 major players in the rice industry composed of farmers, rice mill owners, wholesalers, traders and retailers from Luzon and the Visayas also made an assurance that there is no need for consumers to panic as there is enough rice in the country.The NFA said it is regularly assessing its distribution policies to address the current situation. The agency said it is ready to inject more rice in the market if there is a need to do so.The DA and the NFA also warned unscrupulous grains businessmen that they will be ―dealt with accordingly.‖Farmers and groups which include the Confederation of Grains Retailers Association of the Philippines, Alliance of Grains Industry Stakeholders of the Philippines, and the Alyansa ng mga Industriya sa Bigas said they are against any person or group orchestrating an artificial rice shortage.The groups also threw their support behind the rice selfsufficiency program of the government.

MP govt exempts rice miller from purchase tax With a view to provide relief to the rice processing mills, state government on Wednesday exempted rice millers from purchase tax. Various industry chambers have demanded abrogation of the tax.All those rice processing mills that purchase paddy for their own use will be exempted from purchase tax.The state cabinet

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today also exempted state-owned cooperative agencies from purchase tax on wheat purchase.In another decision the state also created a Public Health Corporation to ensure smooth free medicines supply at government hospitals.The decision has been taken along the lines of Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation that procures medicines for Madhya Pradesh.

More success for Ord rice trials ABC Rural :Tyne McConnon:Updated 7 hours 50 minutes ago

Rice is shaping up to be the next crop for the Ord Valley as the release of further trial results from a four year study proves its potential in the region. The Western Australian Department of Agriculture is putting the plant through its paces in a couple of different growing environments.The first is aerobically, which means growing the rice in well-drained soils, and the second is the traditional way, growing it in a flooded paddy field.The results show the crop can successfully be grown in both environments however it's excelling in the paddy field.The departments Siva Sivapalan says this year the trial focused on a shortened list of varieties which have proven to do well. "Over the past four years we have tested 30 different varieties some from tropical countries and some from New South Wales."We have identified the varieties which do better in this environment and we are using those varieties this year to identify better planting time."Mr Sivapalan says they have found planting later in the season, during late May, allows the crop to escape the cold weather at critical times."If you start early the flowering time may coincide with the low temperatures that we experience in June July."However if you plant later it might be going through the vegetative stage during the cold night temperatures and the reproductive stage may then escape damage."The department is still continuing its search for a variety resistant to the fungal disease rice blast which infected crops in the Ord in 2011.Mr Sivapalan says new funding from the Royal Industries Research and Development Corporation will focus on the disease. "It's funded to DAFWA and the University of Western Australia for a three year project working on blast disease to indentify resistant varieties."Farmer Dave Menzel says in the future he will be interested in trying rice as a rotation crop."For us it would be aerobic so we can use the current farm layout which would make the most sense."By the time we spend the capital to redesign the farm for a paddy system it would mean we would have to commit to five or seven years of rice to make it economic."Mr Menzel says he believes after more research the crop will become a financially attractive option."It's part of a rotation on the farm so it might have some benefits of adding value to other crops in future years."The departments Siva Sivapalan says he's still working out the profitability of the crop for the Ord."The farm gate price paid by Sunrice in New South Wales

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is currently $317 a tonne.""We need to use that figure and compare with other crops to see whether rice is more profitable than any other field crops." Topics: agricultural-crops, rice, kununurra-6743

Rice processing will be critical by 2030 says Bühler Post a commentBy Jenny EAGLE , 18-Sep-2013 Related tags: Bühler UltraLine, European Rice Convention, Rice processing, Energy usage, Milling chamber Related topics: Operational Efficiency, Processing, Processing Technology, US, Europe Bühler has launched an UltraLine range of rice processing equipment to support customer needs to cut down on energy use.

Speaking on Sustainability in Rice Processing, at the European Rice Convention in Valencia, Spain, last week, Nick Wilkins, head of rice processing, Bühler, saidthe world population will grow to 9bn by 2050 and the majority of this will come predominantly from Asia and the demand for rice will increase.

―By 2030, another 100m tonnes of rice a year will be required, which is a 25% increase on where we are now. Land availability will not grow at the same rate but will contract and cannot accommodate the growth that’s needed,‖ he said. Advanced whitening The first two UltraLine machines are the UltraPoly for rice polishing, which lets millers polish rice at almost twice the capacity of previous machines; and the UltraWhite for advanced whitening that has a capacity of nine to 12 tonnes per hour with reduced space requirements and lower energy use.Talking about energy usage, Wilkins told FoodProductionDaily UltraWhite has an ‗optimised‘ milling chamber design and a 'special arrangement of stones for a uniform distribution of air' through rice kernels inside the milling chamber.

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―This means less stress on the rice during rice to stone friction and the power per ton of rice processed is at least 20% less when compared to the competition,‖ he said. Cleaner kernels ―The UltraPoly has a geometry of sieves with reverse bends which enables better polishing performance at high capacity and low energy cost per ton.“Crack development in rice grain can happen because of the high temperature inside the milling chamber. To reduce the temperature, fresh air entry inside the device is needed. The shaft-less milling chamber of the UltraWhite allows air to pass freely around the rice kernels. This results in cooler and cleaner kernels which minimises the broken rice.‖ Centers of Competence The equipment is the first of several machines as part of Bühler‘s UltraLine range including the derminator, UltraGerm.Wilkins said as a company, Bühler spends 4 to 5% of its turnover on research and applied development and has Centers of Competence with an R&D team to improve its equipment process machinery. ―We offer complete rice mill design and installation and can provide individual machines to tailored programs with service and sales support,‖ he added. Click here to listen to Wilkin‘s podcast.

Tufts University 'apologises' over GM rice trial that used children, says Chinese media While Tufts says it 'regrets' the study's deviations from certain protocols, Chinese state media reports the university has 'apologised' over the study Thursday, 19 September, 2013 [UPDATED: 4:14PM 

Hunan primary-school pupils were used to study the nutritional value of the genetically modified golden rice strain. Photo: CPS Tufts University announced on Wednesday in an official statement that one of its

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researchers had broken ethical rules while conducting a study on genetically modified ―Golden Rice‖ in China‘s Hunan province. Curiously enough, while Tufts said it ―regrets‖ the study‘s deviations from certain protocols, Chinese state media reported that the university had―apologised‖ for the study. The statement was issued a year after a study co-authored by Tufts-affiliated researchers was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition last August. It sparked controversy in China over the ethics of using primary-school children to determine the nutritional value of the rice, leading to the sacking of three Chinese scientists. The research was led by Dr Guangwen Tang, who heads the Carotenoids and Health Laboratory at Tufts. It was conducted to determine whether Golden Rice could be used to fight vitamin deficiencies in developing nations.In the study, researchers fed Golden Rice to a trial group of 24 children, aged six to eight in a Hunan school, and tracked the responses in their Vitamin A levels. The study concluded that a single serving of Golden Rice could provide more than 50 per cent of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin A for the children. ―While the study data were validated and no health or safety concerns were identified, the research itself was found not to have been conducted in full compliance with IRB [Institutional Review Board] policy or federal regulations,‖ Tufts said in its statement.Tufts also said researchers had cut corners obtaining reviews and approvals in China. And they also failed to explain adequately the genetically-modified nature of Golden Rice to relevant parties. Some parents at the school later told Chinese media they did not know they were in an experiment. They said they were under the impression the school had invited them to join a free lunch programme of rice, spinach and tofu instead.―We regret that deviations from certain approved protocols and standards occurred,‖ said Tufts. The primary investigator will be banned from conducting research on humans for two years, it said. The news of Tufts‘ ―apology‖ triggered heated discussion on China‘s social media on Thursday, where opinions on genetically modified products were divided. Meanwhile, without access to the original document issued by Tufts, most readers seem convinced Tufts had, indeed, ―apologised.‖―An apology isn‘t enough,‖ many wrote, ―we need to take legal action too.‖―How is this experiment different from what unit 731 did to the Chinese?,‖ another wrote, referring to the biological and chemical warfare research unit of the Japanese army during WWII. But not all readers were angry. ―This research is completely safe and tries to determine the nutrition value of the rice,‖ another blogger wrote, ―Have some common sense and don‘t become an obstacle in China‘s development of genetically-modified food.‖When asked to comment on the Chinese media's use of the word "apology", a public relations spokeswoman representing Tufts told SCMP.com that: "I don't think this is something we are able to comment on as we are not experts on the Chinese language.

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Tufts University: Study promoting GMO ‘golden rice’ violated ethics rules By David Ferguson Wednesday, September 18, 2013 14:13 EDT Topics: Tufts ♦ Tufts University Tufts University researchers revealed Tuesday that a member of their team violated ethics rules in a study designed to measure the nutritional efficacy of so-called ―golden rice,‖ genetically modified rice with the nutrient beta carotene added. NPR’s science blog The Salt said that Tufts stands by the results of the study, but that one researcher in China broke the rules by not informing test subjects — who were all children — or their guardians that the food they were eating had been genetically modified.Biotech industry supporters of the golden rice program say that the modified rice could serve as a valuable weapon against malnutrition worldwide. One bowl of golden rice, according to fans, can provide a child with half of her daily Vitamin A requirement. Skeptics of the program argue that no single modified crop can address the complex web of societal issues and deficiencies in public health programs that lead to widespread malnutrition in parts of the developing world. Furthermore, there are still questions about the safety of GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) foods, given that most safety studies have been sponsored by companies with a financial stake in the outcome.With its announcement on Tuesday, Tuftsconfirmed accusations by Greenpeace China that scientists were using children as guinea pigs to test the safety and efficacy of golden rice without disclosing the real nature of the experiment. At issue are results by the Chinese team — led by scientist Guangweng Tang — that werepublished in August of 2012 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, claiming that golden rice lives up to the claims of its inventors.Greenpeace was alarmed that no one on Tang‘s team saw fit to inform the parents of the 24 children from Hunan province, ages 6 to 8, that the children were eating gene-modified food. Chinese journalists found an email to the research team from a Chinese government official urging scientists not to speak openly of genetic modification, a subject deemed ―too sensitive‖ to discuss with the families.An investigation by the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) followed and,Nature magazine said, two government officials were fired for their role in the project.Golden rice supporters were initially skeptical of the

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investigation, saying that the researchers were being swept up in anti-GMO hysteria. However, Tufts carefully investigated for more than a year and found that researchers in the study were out of compliance with multiple regulations and requirements. The Chinese government has barred Tang from carrying out any research on human subjects until 2015. After that, all experiments she conducts involving humans must be supervised by other scientists for a period of at least two years.In August, a group of Filipino farmers representing the Peasant Movement of the Philippines destroyed acres of golden rice plants at a research facility in Pili, Philippines. The group said that GMO crops have not been adequately tested for safety and that if their own crops are contaminated by seeds or pollen from GMO crops, they couldface a boycott like the one imposed on U.S. exports of soft white wheat this year after herbicide resistant GMO wheat was found growing wild on a farm in Oregon. [image of scientist studying genetically

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