Farming

Brussels casts pall over Tunisia’s desert jewel

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New environmental rules in the EU threaten the country’s phosphate mines, which have spluttered since the revolution. Emmet Livingstone Politico REDEYEF, Tunisia — In the desert, far from Tunisia’s bustling ports, tourist beaches and sprawling olive plantations, lies a colossal state company that was once the beating heart of the national economy. Brought to its knees by inefficiency and social unrest, it is now threatened with extinction — by an obscure bit of legislation making its way through the Brussels machinery. The Compagnie ... Read More »

The Indian tribe that gave up hunting to save forests

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A tribe in the north-eastern Indian state of Nagaland gave up their ancient tradition of hunting to protect wildlife. Photographer Sayan Hazra chronicles life in the village years after it banished the practice. BBC At one time, 76-year-old Chaiyievi Zhiinyii was a skilled hunter. But he stopped hunting in 2001. The Khonoma tribe gave up what was an important source of livelihood some 20 years ago in order to create a more stable ecosystem for future generations. For centuries, many ... Read More »

Iran and Turkey Divert Iraq’s River Waters, Leaving Iraq on the Brink of Catastrophe

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Global attention has been focused on the strained Ethiopian-Egyptian relations due to the construction of the Renaissance Dam by Ethiopia on the Blue Nile, whose reservoir – once filled – will probably lower the… Col. (ret) Dr. Jacques Neriah Institute for Contemporary Affairs But little attention has been given to the brewing conflict over the Tigris (Dajla in Arabic) and Euphrates (Furat in Arabic) waters, both iconic rivers on which Iraq’s existence in both ancient and… Deadly riots in Iraq’s ... Read More »

Fighting the vanilla thieves of Madagascar

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A barefoot farmer is making his way through a forest. Quiet drops of rain tumble steadily through the night, picked out in the light from his torch. Nancy Kacungira * BBC The rusty machete he holds isn’t for cutting down vines or chopping away stubborn branches – it is a defence against thieves. Lots of other men – farmers like him – are out in the rain, patrolling the forest. For the past three months, they have left their homes ... Read More »

Jury finds Monsanto liable in the first Roundup cancer trial – here’s what could happen next

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In the first of many pending lawsuits to go to trial, a jury in San Francisco concluded on Aug. 10 that the plaintiff had developed cancer from exposure to Roundup, Monsanto’s widely used herbicide, and… Richard G. “Bugs” Stevens The Conversation The plaintiff, Dewayne Johnson, had used Roundup in his job as groundskeeper in a California school district. He later developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The jury awarded Johnson $39 million in compensatory damages to cover pain, suffering and medical bills due ... Read More »

Monsanto ordered to pay $289m damages in Roundup cancer trial

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Chemical giant Monsanto has been ordered to pay $289m (£226m) damages to a man who claimed herbicides containing glyphosate had caused his cancer. BBC In a landmark case, a Californian jury found that Monsanto knew its Roundup and RangerPro weedkillers were dangerous and failed to warn consumers. It’s the first lawsuit to go to trial alleging a glyphosate link to cancer. Monsanto denies that glyphosate causes cancer and says it intends to appeal against the ruling. “The jury got it ... Read More »

The devastating reality of Australia’s crippling drought: Shocking maps show just how parched the country has become as desperate farmers continue to pray for rain – but experts say it’s only going to get WORSE

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Australia has been suffering one of the most intense droughts of the past century, and meteorologists believe that it is only going to get worse. Laura Hedges DailyMail These maps from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) show how the country has been getting increasingly dry since 2010. The latest – and most shocking – map from BoM shows next to no average rainfall across the majority of the country from 1 April to 6 August this year. It has ... Read More »

Brexit: champagne, parmesan, prosecco and feta could soon be at the centre of negotiations

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As Brexit day creeps closer, one issue that remains unresolved is the way that food names will be protected in Britain and the EU. Authors: The Conversation From parmesan and feta to cornish pasties and Bavarian beer, the EU is fiercely protective over protected designations of origin (PDOs) or protected geographical indications (PGIs). A number of highly popular products are protected under this legal framework that dictates certain products can only be produced in certain regions. So champagne must be ... Read More »

Migrant farm workers launch landmark $10m legal claim

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Migrant farm workers from Vanuatu have launched a landmark $10 million legal claim against their former Australian labour hire employer for gross underpayment and mistreatment. Ben Schneiders The Sydney Morning Herald The Federal Court action against Agri Labour will use — thought to be for the first time — laws introduced by the Turnbull government to protect vulnerable workers from exploitation. In May, The Sunday Age revealed that 50 workers from Vanuatu had worked in shocking conditions on a farm near Shepparton, and had ... Read More »

Stopping Nigeria’s Spiralling Farmer-Herder Violence

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Rising conflict between herders and farmers in Nigeria is already six times deadlier in 2018 than Boko Haram’s insurgency. ICG To stop the bloodshed, the federal government should improve security; end impunity for assailants; and hasten livestock sector reform. State governments should freeze open grazing bans. What’s new?  Violence between Nigerian herders and farmers has escalated, killing more than 1,300 people since January 2018. The conflict has evolved from spontaneous reactions to provocations and now to deadlier planned attacks, particularly ... Read More »

Nine activists defending the Earth from violent assault

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On a planet of billions, nine represent the strong minority battling murder in the global corruption of land rights Jonathan Watts The Guardian Individually, they are stories of courage and tragedy. Together, they tell a tale of a natural world under ever more violent assault. The portraits in this series are of nine people who are risking their lives to defend the land and environment in some of the planet’s most remote or conflict-riven regions. From the Coral Triangle and ... Read More »

Prawn white spot virus, and how we tracked down its source in Asia

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This week Four Corners aired Outbreak – an investigation into alleged “quarantine failures putting the Australian economy at risk”. Wayne Knibb The Conversation The story in part reviewed how a pathogen known as White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV) had decimated prawn farms located along the Logan River in Queensland. Some of my published research was presented as part of this ABC report. These data, with earlier reports, support the argument that Australia’s biosecurity arrangements were breached by WSSV from Asia. ... Read More »

Australia prepares to block Japanese bid to kill whales for profit

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Australia and other anti-whaling nations are set for a showdown with Japan amid reports it will formally seek to lift a ban on commercial whaling so it can slaughter the animals for profit. Nicole Hasham Brisbane Times Japanese officials have reportedly confirmed the country will propose the resumption of commercial whaling at an International Whaling Commission meeting in Brazil in September, on the condition only whales with healthy population numbers are killed. Japan’s current so-called “research” program kills whales in ... Read More »

‘We’ve turned a corner’: farmers shift on climate change and want a say on energy

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National Farmers’ Federation head Fiona Simson says people on the land can’t ignore what is right before their eyes Katharine Murphy The Guardian Out in the bush, far from the ritualised political jousting in Canberra, attitudes are changing. Regional Australia has turned the corner when it comes to acknowledging the reality of climate change, says the woman now charged with safeguarding the interests of farmers in Canberra. Fiona Simson, a mixed farmer and grazier from the Liverpool plains in northern ... Read More »

Palm oil ‘disastrous’ for wildlife but here to stay, experts warn

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The deforestation it causes is decimating species such as orangutans and tigers – but the alternatives could be worse, finds authoritative report Damian Carrington The Guardian It is consumed daily by billions of people but palm oil is “disastrous” for wildlife such as orangutans and tigers, according to an authoritative new report. However, the analysis warns that alternatives are likely to drive biodiversity losses elsewhere, rather than halt them. The analysis, from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), found… Palm oil ... Read More »

WA government backs suspension of embattled livestock shipping company’s licence

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The West Australian government has backed the federal government’s decision to suspend an embattled livestock shipping company’s licence after a disastrous sheep shipment to the Middle East. AAP WAtoday Thousands of sheep died from heat stress during the Emanuel Exports shipment, sparking a national debate about the industry and the need for reform. WA’s Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said in a statement on Saturday that elements undermining the industry’s credibility had to be accounted for. “It was always… WA ... Read More »