2019 ہفتہ وار زرعی خبریں

فروری 7 تا 13 فروری، 2019
کھاد
ایک خبر کے مطابق اینگرو فرٹیلائزر کا منافع سال 2018 میں 56 فیصد اضافے کے بعد 17.4 بلین روپے تک پہنچ گیا ہے۔ سال 2017 میں کمپنی کا منافع 11.5 بلین روپے تھا۔ کمپنی کے منافع میں اضافہ اس کی فروخت میں اضافے کی وجہ سے ہوا ہے جو گزشتہ سال کی فروخت 77 بلین سے بڑھ کر سال 2018 میں 109 بلین ہوگئی ہے۔ کمپنی کی فروخت میں اضافے کی شرح 42 فیصد ہے۔
(دی ایکسپریس ٹریبیون، 9 فروری، صفحہ20)

ایک خبر کے مطابق وفاقی حکومت نے کھاد کے کارخانوں سمیت بجلی بنانے والے آزاد اداروں اور دیگر کارخانوں کے لیے (2012-18 سات سالوں پر مشتمل) گیس انفرااسٹرکچر ڈویلپمنٹ سیس کی مد میں واجب الادا 50 فیصد رقم معاف کردی ہے۔ یہ فیصلہ وزیر اعظم عمران خان کی سربراہی میں ہونے والے کابینہ کے اجلاس میں پیٹرولیم ڈویژن کی جانب سے جلد بازی میں تیار کردہ سمری پر کیا گیا۔
(بزنس ریکارڈر، 9 فروری، صفحہ1)

پانی
ایک خبر کے مطابق آبیانے کی وصولی کو بہتر بنانے اور نادہندگان کے خلاف سخت کاروائی کو یقینی بنانے کے لئے ایک ٹیم (ٹاسک فورس) قائم کردی گئی ہے۔ پنجاب اریگیشن اینڈ ڈرینج اتھارٹی کے ترجمان کا کہنا ہے کہ آبپاشی نظام کی مؤثر دیکھ بھال کے لئے آبیانے کی وصولی کو بہتر کرنے کی ضرورت ہے۔ ٹاسک فورس آبیانے کی وصولی پر نظر رکھے گی اور نادہندگان کو پانی کی ترسیل کے لیے وارہ بندی سے خارج کرنے کے لیے سفارش کرے گی۔ پنجاب اریگیشن اینڈ ڈرینج اتھارٹی کے ایگزیکٹو انجینئروں کو تمام کسان تنظیموں کے ریکارڈ مرتب کرنے کی ہدایت کردی گئی ہے۔ کسانوں کو خریف 2018 کے بل بھیجے جاچکے ہیں اور نادہندگان کی فہرست کو بھی حتمی شکل دی جارہی ہے۔
(ڈان، 9 فروری، صفحہ2)

مال مویشی
وفاقی وزیر قومی غذائی تحفظ و تحقیق صاحبزادہ محمد محبوب سلطان نے امریکی امدادی ادارہ برائے بین الاقوامی ترقی (یو ایس ایڈ) کی جانب سے منہ اور کھر کی بیماریوں سے تحفظ کے لئے منعقد کردہ ورکشاب سے خطاب کرتے ہوئے کہا ہے کہ پاکستان حلال گوشت کی مقامی اور عالمی طلب پوری کرنے کے لیے جدید خطوط پر مال مویشی شعبہ کو ترقی دینے کے لیے پرعزم ہے۔ اس ورکشاپ کا مقصد امریکہ اور پاکستان کے مشترکہ منصوبے ایگری کلچرل مارکیٹ ڈیولپمنٹ کے تحت مال مویشی شعبہ سے متعلق شراکت داروں کو اکھٹا کرنا، انہیں ملک میں منہ کھر کی بیماری کے خاتمہ پر پیش رفت سے آگاہ کرنا اور گوشت کی زیادہ طلب رکھنے والی منڈیوں تک اس کی تجارت میں اضافے کے لیے (منہ کھر کی بیماری کی) پائیدار روک تھام کے لیے لائحہ عمل سے پیش کرنا تھا۔ اس موقع پر یو ایس ایڈ کے ڈائریکٹر جیف جیوبل کا کہنا تھا کہ زرعی معیشت میں مال مویشی شعبہ کا حصہ 58 فیصد ہے جو دنیا میں حلال گوشت کی مجموعی پیداوار کا پانچ فیصد گوشت پیدا کرتا ہے۔ مسلسل کوشش اور منہ کھر کی بیماری پر قابو پاکر پاکسان حلال گوشت کی عالمی ضرورت میں اپنا حصہ ڈال سکتا ہے جس کا حجم 600 بلین ڈالر ہے۔ پاکستان نے سال 2018 میں 6.598 ملین ڈالر کی لاگت سے منہ کھر کی بیماری کی روک تھام کے منصوبے ’’رسک بیسڈ کنٹرول آف فٹ اینڈ ماؤتھ ڈیزیز ان پاکستان 2018-2024 شروع کیا ہے۔
(بزنس ریکارڈر، 7 جنوری، صفحہ3)

غربت
خشک سالی سے متاثرہ تھرپارکر میں گزشتہ دو دنوں میں خوراک کی کمی اور پانی سے ہونے والی بیماریوں کی وجہ سے مزید چار بچے جانبحق ہوگئے ہیں۔ ان بچوں کی اموات کی ساتھ اس سال تھر میں مرنے والے بچوں کی تعداد 76 ہوگئی ہے۔ ڈپٹی کمشنر تھر پارکر محمد آصف جمیل کا کہنا ہے کہ ضلع کے مختلف طبی مراکز میں 600 سے زائد بچے زیر علاج ہیں۔ تھرپارکر میں گندم کی مفت تقسیم کے تیسرے مرحلہ میں 1,681 خاندانوں کو فی کس 50 کلو گرام گندم فراہم کردی گئی ہے۔
(بزنس ریکارڈر، 11 فروری، صفحہ11)

ایک خبرکے مطابق بے نظیر انکم سپورٹ پروگرام (بی آئی ایس پی) غربت کا سروے کرنے میں ناکام ہوگیا ہے۔ سابقہ حکومت نے تین سال قبل بی آئی ایس پی کو سروے کرنے کے لیے کہا تھا۔ اس سروے کو دو مراحل میں مکمل ہونا تھا۔ پہلے مرحلہ کی لاگت 900 ملین روپے جبکہ دوسرے مرحلہ کی لاگت نو بلین روپے تھی۔ بی آئی ایس پی نے 2016 میں 16 اضلاع میں ابتدائی مرحلہ کا آغاز کیا تھا جو اسی سال کے آخر تک مکمل ہونا تھا، جبکہ جنوری 2017 سے تمام اضلاع میں سروے کا انعقاد کرنا تھا۔ نیشنل سوشل اینڈ اکنامک رجسٹری نامی یہ سروے ملک کے 137 اضلاع میں کیا جانا تھا۔ تاہم ایک سال گزر جانے کے باوجود سروے اب تک مکمل نہیں کیا جاسکا۔
(دی ایکسپریس ٹریبیون، 13 فروری، صفحہ2)

گندم
محکمہ موسمیات نے گندم کاشت کرنے والے کسانوں کو اپنے کھیتوں سے جڑی بوٹیاں صاف کرنے کا مشورہ دیا ہے کیونکہ ملک کے وسطی علاقوں میں فصل اب پکنے کے مراحل میں داخل ہوگئی ہے۔ کسانوں سے مزید کہا گیا ہے کہ موسم کو مدنظر رکھتے ہوئے ربیع کی فصلوں کے لئے آبپاشی کی منصوبہ بندی کریں۔ اس کے علاوہ کسانوں کو فصلوں کو سرد موسم سے بچانے کے لئے اقدامات کرنے کا مشورہ دیا گیا ہے۔
(بزنس ریکارڈر، 10فروری، صفحہ2)

ماحول
ایک خبر کے مطابق گزشتہ تین دہائیوں میں سائبیریا سے ہجرت کرکے آنے والے پرندوں کی تعداد میں تیزی سے کمی آئی ہے۔ موسم سرما میں کیے گئے ایک سروے کے مطابق 12 آبی مقامات پر مقامی اور ہجرت کرکے آنے والے پرندوں سمیت تقریباً 150,000 پرندوں کی آمد کا اندازہ لگایا گیا ہے جو گزشتہ سال 2017-18 کے مقابلے میں 70 فیصد کم ہیں۔ پاکستان ہجرت کرکے آنے والے پرندوں کی آمد کا سلسلہ اگست کے آخر سے شروع ہوجاتا ہے۔ فرروی کے مہینے سے ان پرندوں کی واپسی شروع ہوجاتی ہے اور مارچ تک تمام پرندے واپس چلے جاتے ہیں۔ محکمہ جنگلی حیات کے افسر کا کہنا ہے کہ یہ پرندے پاکستان میں 19 مقامات پر قیام کرتے ہیں جن میں سے 10 مقامات سندھ میں پائے جاتے ہیں۔ ماہرین نے انسانی مداخلت اور دیگر قدرتی وجوہات کو پاکستان میں ہجرت کرکے آنے والے پرندوں کی تعداد میں کمی کا سبب قرار دیا ہے۔
(دی ایکسپریس ٹریبیون، 11 فروری، صفحہ5)

نکتہ نظر 
اس ہفتے کی سرفہرست خبر اینگرو فرٹیلائزر کے منافع میں ایک سال میں تقریبا چھ ارب روپے اضافے کی ہے جو ملک میں زراعت میں ماحول دشمن کیمیائی اجزاء کے استعمال میں اضافے کو تو ظاہر کرتی ہے، ساتھ ساتھ اس ماحول دشمن کیمیائی زراعت اور موسمی تبدیلی کے اثرات بھی ملک میں ہجرت کرنے والے پرندوں کی بری تعداد میں کمی کی صورت ظاہر ہورہے ہیں۔ یہی نہیں اس غیر پائیدار طریقہ پیداوار اور ماحول کی تباہی کے ذمہ دار سرمایہ دار واجب الادا ٹیکس معاف کرواکر قومی خزانے کو لوٹ رہے ہیں جو اس ملک میں ناصرف طبقاتی تفریق میں مزید اضافے بلکہ غربت میں مزید اضافے کی بھی ایک وجہ ہے۔ افسوس کا مقام ہے کہ کھاد کی صنعت کے منافع میں اربوں روپے کا اضافہ ہوتا ہے اس کے باوجود ان کے ذمہ واجبات معاف کیے جاتے ہیں لیکن بات جب کسان سے آبیانہ وصولی کی ہو تو حکومت وصولی کے لیے ان کا پانی بند کرنے پر اتر آتی ہے۔ یہی ناانصافی اور ظلم و استحصال پر مبنی نظام اس ملک کے عوام کی ترقی، خوشحالی اور خودمختاری میں سب سے بری رکاوٹ ہے جسے دور کرنے کے لیے استحصال کے شکار کسان مزدور طبقے کو میدان عمل میں آنے کی اشد ضرورت ہے۔

! جینیاتی مکئی کی منظوری کے لیے طلب کیا گیا اجلاس منسوخ

ایک خبر کے مطابق پاکستان ایگری کلچر ریسرچ کونسل (پارک) کے ایک اعلی سطح اجلاس جس میں آج (منگل، 29 جنوری کو) جینیاتی مکئی کی کاشت کی منظوری دی جانی تھی، خود وزیر خوراک کی جانب سے آخری لمحات میں ڈرامائی انداز میں منسوخ کردیا گیا۔ پارک نے بین الاقوامی بیج کمپنیوں کی تیار کردہ جنیاتی مکئی کی اقسام کو تجارتی بنیادوں پر کاشت کرنے کی اجازت دینے پر غور کرنے کے لئے جلد بازی میں بیج کی جانچ کرنے والی ورائٹی ایویلویشن کمیٹی کا اجلاس طلب کیا تھا۔ یہ صورتحال اس وقت پیدا ہوئی جب وفاقی وزیر قومی غذائی تحفظ و تحقیق صاحبزادہ محبوب سلطان نے اچانک مداخلت کرتے ہوئے پارک کے چیئرمین ڈاکٹر یوسف ظفر کی سربراہی میں منعقد ہونے والے اس اجلاس کو منسوخ کردیا۔ اجلاس میں شرکت کرنے کے لئے بہت سے شرکاء راستہ میں تھے یا اسلام آباد پہنچ چکے تھے جب انہیں بذریعہ ٹیلی فون آگاہ کیا گیا کہ یہ اجلاس آئندہ نوٹس تک ملتوی کردیا گیا ہے۔ پیر کی شام (28 جنوری) تک بھی پارک کے اعلی حکام اجلاس کی منسوخی سے بے خبر تھے۔ پارک کے ایک اعلی افسر کا کہنا تھا کہ اجلاس فیصل آباد زرعی یونیورسٹی کی درخواست پر منسوخ کیا گیا ہے کیونکہ یونیورسٹی کی ٹیم اس اجلاس میں غور و بحث کے لیے تیار نہیں تھی۔ اس اجلاس کی منسوخی کی کوئی سیاسی یا اور کوئی وجہ نہیں ہے۔
بیج کے کاروبار سے وابستہ کچھ شراکتداروں نے تجارتی بنیادوں پر جنیاتی مکئی کی بطور غذائی فصل کاشت کی سخت مخالفت کی ہے جن کا کہنا ہے کہ ہائبرڈ مکئی کی کاشت کو جاری رکھنا ہی کسانوں اور صارفین کے مفاد میں ہے جو ملکی ضروریات کے مطابق کاشت کی جارہی ہے۔ اس کے علاوہ بیج کی صنعت کی جانب سے مقامی ہائبرڈ بیج کے لیے کی جانے والی سرمایہ کاری کو بھی ترجیح دینے کی ضرورت ہے۔ شراکتداروں کا کہنا ہے کہ جنیاتی فصلوں کی کاشت کو متعارف کروانے سے نا صرف ذہنی ملکیت کے حقوق کے لئے ادا کی جانیوالی رقم (رائلٹی) کی وجہ سے کسانوں کی پیداواری لاگت میں اضافہ ہوگا بلکہ مقامی جینیاتی وسائل کی آلودگی کا باعث بھی بنے گی خصوصاً مکئی کی فصل جس میں ہوا کے زریعے زیرگی (پولینیشن) کا عمل ہوتا ہے۔

بیج کے شعبہ سے وابستہ شراکتداروں نے خبردار کیا ہے کہ جینیاتی فصلوں کے مقامی سطح پر ہائبرڈ بیج کی اقسام کی تیاری پر کی جانے والی سرمایہ کاری پر بھی انتہائی منفی اثرات مرتب ہونگے اور بیج کے کاروبار میں تحقیق و ترقی اور ان کی مقامی پیداوار کی حوصلہ شکنی ہوگی۔ دوسری طرف مکئی سے تیار شدہ اشیاء کی پاکستان سے پائیدار بنیادوں پر برآمد صرف اس صورت جاری رہ سکتی ہے کہ جب مقامی کاشتکار ہائبرڈ ٹیکنالوجی پر قائم رہیں اور جینیاتی مکئی کی کاشت کی اجازت نہ دی جائے۔
سب سے اہم بات یہ کہ جینیاتی فصلیں برآمدات کے لیے نقصان کا باعث بنیں گی کیونکہ اکثر ممالک جو پاکستان سے مکئی اور اس سے تیار کردہ اشیاء اور دیگر غذائی فصلیں درآمد کرتے ہیں، جینیاتی فصلوں کے خلاف ہیں جیسے کہ یورپی یونین، افریقہ، ترکی اور روس۔ پاکستان ان ممالک اور خطوں کو اپنی اشیاء برآمد نہیں کرسکے گا جس کے نتیجے میں برآمدات میں سخت رکاوٹیں پیدا ہونگی۔

سب سے اہم بات یہ کہ پاکستان کی ہائبرڈ مکئی کی فی ہیکٹر پیداوار پانچ ٹن میں پہلے ہی اضافے کا رجحان ہے اور پاکستان پہلے ہی کئی ایسے ممالک سے پیداوار میں آگے ہے جنہوں نے جنیاتی مکئی کی کاشت کی اجازت دی ہے۔ پاکستان اپنی مکئی کی ضروریات مقامی پیداوار کے زریعے حاصل کررہا ہے اور یہاں جینیاتی فصلوں کے تجربات کی کوئی ضرورت نہیں ہے جس میں کئی طرح کے مسائل ثابت ہوچکے ہیں۔
ترجمہ :دی نیوز، 30 جون، 2018

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/424810-minister-steps-in-to-scrap-moot-called-to-green-signal-gm-corn-in-haste

Minister Steps In To Scrap Moot Called To Green-Signal Gm Corn In Haste

Munawar Hasan

January 29, 2019

 

LAHORE: A high-level meeting that was slated to green-signal the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) corn in the country today (Tuesday) was ploughed down for now by the food minister himself at the eleventh hour in a rather dramatic way, The News has learnt

Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) had called a moot of Variety Evaluation Committee (VAC) for granting approval to commercial farming of genetically modified corn varieties, developed by multinational seed companies today (Tuesday) ‘hastily’.

A scene was created when Federal Minister for National Food Security Sahibzada Mehboob

Sultan abruptly intervened and asked for the cancellation of meeting that was convened by Dr Yusuf Zafar, chairman PARC.

Many participants were on their way to federal capital or had already reached there for attending the meeting, when they were informed via phone calls that the moot has been postponed until further notice.

Several key PARC officials were also not aware of the cancellation until late Monday evening, when they were contacted by The News.

Even, an official confirmed to The News the meeting was on after reconfirming it.

However, upon insisting that the meeting had been cancelled, the official again checked with the PARC high-ups and only then he affirmed the postponement of the VAC meeting.

The official however asserted that meeting was cancelled on the request of Faisalabad Agriculture University as its team was yet not ready to show up for the moot. There is no political or any other reason of shelving the meeting, he observed.

Certain stakeholders in seed business strongly opposed the introduction of genetically modified corn’s commercial cultivation being an edible crop.

“It is in the best interests of consumers and farmers that the country continued with the hybrid corn, which is abundantly being produced in the country as per requirements,” they said.

Moreover, they added that the investment in local hybrids developed by seed industry also required prioritising hybrids of maize.

The stakeholders said the introduction of genetically modified crops would not only increase the cost of farming for farmers due to high royalty fees, but would also lead to contamination of local germplasm, particularly in maize, which is a wind pollinated crop.

“This will also have severe adverse effect on the investment in locally developed hybrid varieties and discourage local production and research and development in seed business,” they warned.

On the other hand, the exports of maize-based value-added products from Pakistan could only be continued on sustained basis if the local growers stick with hybrid technology and refrain from allowing genetically modified corn seeds, sources said.

Most importantly, they added that it would lead to loss of export business as several countries/regions which import the value-added products based on maize and edible crops from Pakistan are anti-genetically modified crops such as European Union, Africa, Turkey, and Russia.

“Pakistan will not be able to export its products to these regions and countries, thus severely hampering exports,” they said.

More significantly, they said Pakistan’s per hectare production of corn was already showing upward trend and with five tons per hectare output of corn hybrids, Pakistan was already ahead of several countries that allowed genetically modified corn.

“We are sufficiently meeting our needs of corn through local production and there is no need to experiment with genetically modified organisms, which have several proven issues,” sources said.

genetically modified corn

Roots for Equity’s Rooftop Garden (Winter 2018-19)

Since past couple of years, Roots for Equity has been maintaining a seed bank on its office rooftop to promote seed saving and advocate kitchen gardening using traditional, non-chemical methods of agriculture.

Currently there are 20 plants potted on a total of 37 pots in the Roof Garden, Roots for Equity. The following are the 20 plants that have sprouted this winter season (2018-19):

  • Sarson – Mustard Leaves
  • Pudina – Spearmint Leaves
  • Dhaniya – Coriander Leaves
  • Aloo – Potatoes
  • Gajar – Carrots
  • Saem ki phali – Hyacinth Beans
  • Karela – Bitter Gourd
  • Torai – Ridged Gourd
  • Papita – Papayas
  • Jamun – Java Plum
  • Curry patha – Curry Leaves
  • Bhindi – Okra
  • Lasun – Garlic
  • Aloe vera – Aloe Vera
  • Patharchatta – Air Plant
  • Sadabahar – Rose Periwinkle
  • Tamatar – Tomatoes
  • Harimirch – Green Chilies
  • Kharbooza – Musk Melon
  • Baingan – Eggplant

Continue reading

LAND GRANT TO LANDLESS PEASANTS CANCELLED

***

Shaheed Benazirabad (revenue) additional commissioner Yousuf Abbasi took action over the land grant allowed by then executive district officer (EDO) of revenue in the wake of inquiries by National Accountability Bureau and complaints to ombudsman.

In his order, the additional commissioner observed that the land had been given by the EDO against the land grant policy.

The officer conducted hearing over the matter after issuing show-cause notices to the grantees and inviting their objections if they had any but he revoked the grant without hearing their arguments through a large number had filed objections.

The land was granted in 26 dehs in Sanghar taulka. Most of the peasants had paid government’s dues after which they were issued allotment orders, Qabooliat, form A and form VII-B by the revenue department.

Published in Dawn, January 5th, 2019

https://www.dawn.com/news/1455629/land-grant-to-landless-peasants-cancelled

PATENTING AGRICULTURE: CASE OF CHINESE HYBRID WHEAT SEEDS INTRODUCED UNDER CPEC

 Askari Abbas

Seed patenting is one of the scourge of neoliberal agriculture, which began in the 1990s. It has been outraging peasants and farmers ever since due to its catastrophic political, socioeconomic impacts. This article is going to explore, analyze and critique hybrid wheat seed that is being introduced in Pakistan under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) agreement signed between the respective countries.

In 2014, the Beijing Engineering Research Center for Hybrid Wheat (BERCHW) gave a selected assortment of hybrid wheat to Pakistan, suitable for plantation in different part of the nation. The target was boosting crop production and to achieve food sufficiency.

BERCHW, besides extending specialized and scientific help to Pakistan, has additionally given free of cost hybrid wheat seeds adding up to 12,000 kg. Chinese agriculture researchers have also visited Pakistan to provide technical support.Hybrid wheat is aimed to be commercially produced over vast areas of Pakistan within two years. According to news sources, the Pakistani Embassy in Beijing is facilitating the research process between the two counterparts.Around 150 specialists have dedicated themselves to the research and development of hybrid wheat.

According to news agencies in Pakistan, the work on Hybrid wheat has been ongoing since 2012 where the China’s Hybrid Wheat Company and the Beijing Hybrid Wheat Engineering Technology Research Center have collaborated with Pakistan’s Guard Agricultural Company and Peshawar Agricultural University to demonstrate experiments on the cooperation of the second-generation hybrid wheat in Pakistan.Over 120 hybrids were planted in more than 230 experimental spots.

This agreement can also be verified from Sinochem’s press release of August 28 in 2012, which provides information on a cooperation agreement between Sinoseeds Hybrid Wheat Seed* (Beijing) Co., Ltd. (Sinoseeds Hybrid Wheat) and Guard Agricultural Research Services (Pvt.) Ltd. (Guard Agri). The press release highlights the agreement for the promotion and application of China’s two-line hybrid wheat in Pakistan.

*Sinoseeds Hybrid Wheat, a company jointly built by China National Seed Group Co., Ltd. (shortened to Sinoseeds, a subsidiary of Sinochem Group) and Beijing Engineering Research Center for Hybrid Wheat in October 2011, is the first professional hybrid wheat seed company in China.

Another press release from 2014 shows that CNSGC Hybrid Wheat Seed (Beijing) Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of China National Seed Group Co., Ltd. (China Seed) under Sinochem Group, signed a cooperative agreement on hybrid wheat industrialization with Guard Agricultural Research Services (Pvt.) Ltd on May 24th of 2018.

According to Sinochem, Hybrid Wheat Company was formed with the joint investment of China Seed and Beijing Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences (BAAFS) in 2011 to promote the industrialization of hybrid wheat technology and boost the selective breeding and popularization of fine hybrid wheat varieties.

Hybrid Wheat Piloted in Pakistan

An August 2018 report from an online Chinese news website Global Times shows that the Chinese are planning to cultivate their hybrid wheat along the Belt and Road route after successful trials in Pakistan.

Song Weibo, vice president of Sinochem Group Agriculture Division, China’s largest agricultural inputs company and integrated modern agricultural services operator, informed the Global Times that the company’s hybrid wheat has been harvested on a large scale in Pakistan, and has also gotten some exposure in Bangladesh and Uzbekistan.
According to the report, the company will continue to promote hybrid wheat in other Belt and Road countries and establish demonstration bases in Europe and North America.

It is clear that Sinochem is interested in opening a market for its hybrid wheat seed in Pakistan, as they have sent a number of experts to the country to work with local farmers. According to Song, around 150 experts have been sent to over 20 cities in Pakistan.

It is important to note that with the likely upcoming merger of Sinochem and ChemChina (another state owned chemical company that also acquisitioned Syngenta; a former Swiss agrochemical company that is also involved in hybrid wheat technology), China will largely emerge as a monopolist in hybrid wheat technology in upcoming years.

According to a report in China Daily the trial on hybrid wheat in Pakistan has been concluded and termed successful. The trials included tests on the hybrid varieties being carried out in 230 sites; spread over 2,000 hectares of experimental bases or local farm lands. This information was provided by the general manager Chen Zhaobao of CNSGC Hybrid Wheat Seed (Beijing) Co, a subsidiary of China National Seed Group Co under Sinochem Group Co that is responsible for the hybrid wheat promotion project in Pakistan.

Muhammad Arif, professor of agriculture at Peshawar Agricultural University whose involvement in the project can also be verified with a simple look on the project log page of his ResearchGate profile, has seemingly expressed his approval for the commercial introduction of Chinese hybrid wheat seeds in Pakistan

A glimpse at the hybrid wheat seed varieties that China wants to introduce in Pakistan and the Belt-Road initiative:

Source: picture taken from CNSGC products web page.

Further information about the project can be seen from a report by China Radio International on their website; (Please note that this information has been translated using Google translator).

According to China Radio International, the 2017- 2018 field trials were run by Peshawar Agricultural University. It seems part of the trials were carried out in a village Ruijji near Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The various institutions that seem to be involved in the research included Ministry of Science and Technology of China, the Ministry of Agriculture, Beijing Municipality, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, and the Pakistan Foundation Committee, the Beijing Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences/Beijing Hybrid Wheat Engineering Technology Research Center and the Sinochem Group’s subsidiary Sinoseeds Co., Ltd..

In 2018, China-Pakistan Hybrid Wheat Joint R&D Center was also built in Peshawar under China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) for the promotion of Beijing hybrid wheat in Pakistan.

It is quite unfortunate that Pakistani officials have highlighted certain features of Pakistan’s agriculture and farmers that could be construed as overlooking the hardships of the people, and essentially exploitative. For instance, it has been mentioned that,“Pakistani farmers can endure hardships, withstand high temperatures, and further that cheap labor and human resources provide an obvious advantage for Sinochem to run its hybrid wheat project in Pakistan.” Pakistan’s special geographical importance was also highlighted, keeping its trade closeness with Central Asia, Europe, Russia, China, and Africa in mind. Pakistan’s‘trade-friendly policies’ were also mentioned with emphasis laid on the possibility that China could produce and export from Pakistan to EU and the United States.

As Pakistan is a member of WTO, it has to act in accordance to all the rules and agreements that are part of WTO charter strictly with no questions asked. And as a result of this connection with the international trade governing body, an amendment was made in Pakistani Seed Act of 1976 in 2015.

Its key points are:

  • The providence of primary seed for the private sector (Pre-Basic Seed).
  • Laboratory for testing authentic seed for the private sector.
  • Registration of seed companies/dealers and production plants.
  • Imposing penalties if seed laws are violated.
  • Ban on unregistered and unapproved varieties.
  • Registration of organizations and individuals is now necessary for being part of the seed business.
  • Any individual including farmers are not allowed to sell nor store their seeds, nor are they allowed to transact or exchange it.
  • Farmers are not allowed to sell misbranded seeds, nor are they allowed to sell, store or exchange them, nor are they allowed to transact them in any way possible.
  • Full permission to grow genetically modified crops, especially cotton and maize.
  • The farmers have to pay fees for registering their varieties.

As it can be noted, this amendment was made with the protection of intellectual property in mind, to satisfy TRIPS the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) agreement made under WTO that was made to facilitate private sector to gain control of natural resources worldwide through imposing intellectual property rights laws on them. There is no doubt that the Amended Seed Act has taken away farmers rights and given domination to corporations. It needs to be stated that this law has been met with severe opposition and resistance from the farming organization nationwide.

Now with China’s unopposed entry in the Pakistani agricultural market, combined with this new Seed Act of 2015, standard free market policies being accepted by the Pakistani government under advanced capitalist states, as well as the CPEC influence, no doubt the Chinese are being given an easy free entry into Pakistani agriculture, which will have enormous repercussions for the small farmers, as well as the country’s sovereignty.

And with this newfound freedom what is the first thing that Chinese do? They go after our staple food crop that is wheat. The perplexing thing is that all these changes made in wheat are slowly turning it into an unhealthy food crop. Putting the health aspect aside, the socioeconomic aspect of it is damning itself. Now the Chinese will have full control of the wheat that is consumed in and exported out of Pakistan. These new Chinese hybridized varieties will come accompanied with Sinochem’s fertilizers and pesticides, putting more economic pressure on local peasants and farmers and also unnecessarily increasing Pakistani wheat production value.

The way things are going; with Pakistanis allowing foreign corporate companies and foreign organizations to pry into its own agricultural practices and taking over its natural food sources, the history is repeating itself. The people of this region have already experienced the taste of what western colonialism is like. Now the time has come that the Pakistani people prepare themselves for a new form of colonization, i.e. Chinese neocolonialism!!

No doubt we face a behemoth of a typhoon!

SLAVERY INC: HOW LEGISLATORS REINFORCE BONDED LABOUR IN SINDH

Mohammad Hussain Khan Updated October 01, 2018

The hari-landlord relationship remains undocumented in Sindh. This makes peasants vulnerable to all forms of exploitation.

Weaker laws and regulatory framework deprive haris of legal protection. In many cases, they survive in subhuman conditions and fall prey to slavery.

Sindh Tenancy Act (STA) 1950 seeks to protect their rights, thanks to a relentless struggle by one of the greatest hari leaders of his era, Hyder Bux Jatoi. However, haris can hardly invoke its provisions to get their rights.

Yet this law, which describes a hari as a tenant, was amended by the Sindh Assembly in 2013. The most damaging amendment that the PPP, which derives its electoral strength from rural Sindh, introduced to it was the omission of the following words: “But the landlord shall not take any free labour from the tenant or a member of his family against his will.”

In other words, legislators have legalised slavery.

According to veteran labour rights activist Karamat Ali, this amendment shows that legislators are in a state of denial as they believe landowners don’t take begaar (free labour). “Legislators from urban areas also voted for the amendment,” he said.

Landowners maintain accounts of expenditures that they settle with haris after the harvest. Haris till the land under no written agreement

Practically, the hari-landlord relationship is governed under no law. Haris are not registered under the record of rights as permanent tenants as per the 1950 law. Usually, peasants share expenses incurred by their landlords as the latter purchase all inputs either by themselves or through local financiers. These local lenders charge interest rates that are multiple times higher than the mark-up on a typical bank loan.

For instance, a local lender provides farmers with a urea bag at Rs2,400 on credit even though its actual price varies between Rs1,600 and Rs1,700. The loan is usually adjusted once the crop is harvested and sold either in the market or to the same lender.

This undermines the monetary interests of haris who have to make do with a meagre share in the profit after the deduction of expenses. Landowners maintain accounts of expenditures and settle the same with haris after the harvest. Haris till the land under no written agreement.

A landlord lets haris cultivate separate pieces of land. They depend on the landlord for meeting their day-to-day needs as he ensures the supply of irrigation water, seeds, fertiliser, pesticides and tractors.

Although the STA is considered a pro-peasant law, rights bodies have come up with some draft amendments to make it more progressive. However, the Sindh government hasn’t considered those amendments yet.

Many people believe that elected representatives in rural Sindh are primarily from powerful landed aristocracy and get support from their urban counterparts. Overall, 10 amendments have been made to the law. But there hasn’t been any meaningful impact as far as conditions of the haris are concerned.

The STA calls for setting up tribunals to resolve hari-landowner disputes. But no such body has been set up so far.

One draft amendment calls for placing the tribunals under the judicial magistrate instead of a taluka-level assistant commissioner as enshrined in actual STA.

Another draft amendment calls for making a tribunal’s decision challengeable in “higher civil courts” contrary to the actual provision that says, “A decision of tribunal or in appeal by collector (deputy commissioner) and then by commissioner shall be final and shall not be called in question in any court.” But these amendments have not been considered.

Interestingly, farm workers and those working in the fisheries sector are now covered by the definition of “industrial labour” under Sindh Industrial Relations Act (SIRA) 2013. But the rules under the SIRA have not been issued yet.

Sindh Abadgar Board Vice President Mahmood Nawaz Shah says relevant departments lack the capacity to implement tenancy rules. Laws like the STA couldn’t take effect under a weak governance structure.

Mr Ali says conditions for farm labour are extremely poor. “They have no right to form a union. When a hari is not registered with the revenue department, he and his family can be evicted by the landowner any time,” he says.

Any payment of advances to haris is prohibited under Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act 2015

An identical situation exists even in the formal labour sector where third-party employment by factory owners is commonplace now, he adds.

The cases of bonded labourers are usually reported against the backdrop of the poor implementation of tenancy laws. Such haris escape from the clutches of landowners to avoid paying the debt they obtained in advance. Any payment of advances to haris under Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act 2015 is prohibited. But the law is rarely implemented.

Peasant rights activists claim that 13.46 million people were employed in Sindh in 2012. Of them, as many as 7.74m were based in rural areas. A majority of them work as sharecroppers — landless tenants or peasants — as well as wage labour.

Trade unionist Nasir Mansoor asserts that even the STA has become obsolete now. He believes that only getting haris freed from bondage is no solution to the issue. An entirely new consultation is needed to look at the hari-landlord relationship, he stated, adding that peasants will continue ending up as losers otherwise.

Published in Dawn, The Business and Finance Weekly, October 1st, 2018

https://www.dawn.com/news/1435964/slavery-inc-how-legislators-reinforce-bonded-labour-in-sindh

WORLD FOODLESS DAY, OCTOBER 16, 2018

PRESS RELEASE

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) celebrates the World Food Day on October 16 every year. This year FAOs slogan is “A#ZeroHunger World by 2030 is possible.” But across the world, small and landless farmers, labour organizations commemorate the day as “World Hunger Day”. Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT), Roots for Equity, PAN AP, and various organizations have campaigned from October 1-16 to highlight the critical importance of agro-ecology and the important character of youth in promoting agroecology, and have used the theme “ Youth on the March: Building Global Community for Agroecology and Food Sovereignty” for the World Hunger Day.

To protest the rising hunger across the globe, and in Pakistan, PKMT and Roots for Equity took out a rally in Haripur, Khyber Pakhtunkwa which included small and landless farmers from many KPK districts.

According to the Altaf Hussain, National Coordinator, PKMT 60% of Pakistani population is facing food insecurity.  A very large majority of the population was living under poverty, and this is the basic reason that 80% children are deprived of adequate nutrition, 44% children were suffering from malnourishment. No doubt hunger can be eradicated from Pakistan but in the current state of industrial agricultural production, where huge transnational corporations with their toxic hybrid, genetically engineered technology have got their tentacles in the system, it is NOT possible. These corporations are earning super-profits through the exploitation of small and landless farmers and this is the most critical factor in the escalating hunger, malnutrition and poverty. In Pakistan, in spite of surplus production of wheat and rice, feudalism, corporate agriculture and international trade agreements that such a large majority of the people, especially women and children suffer from hunger. Only by taking away the control of feudal lords, and corporations from our lands, our food systems and markets can eliminate hunger.

Fayaz Ahmed, Provincial Coordinator, KPK stated that the promotion of foreign investments, and an export-oriented economy, and vast infrastructural projects are resulting in the eviction of small and landless farmers; this in the face of the fact that only 11 percent of big landlords own 45% of agricultural land. The expansion of the Hattar Industrial Zone is a living example for which not only small farmers were evicted but even the labor force employed in the industries suffers from very low wages and lack of basic human rights.

Mohammad Iqbal, District Coordinator Haripur stated that the governments willingness to allow global capitalist powers control over our markets, promotion of unsustainable agriculture practices has resulted in land and food production to be a source of profit-making. All this has not only exacerbated hunger among rural communities but has also caused environmental pollution especially food pollution, and climate change. In order to get rid of poverty, hunger and joblessness, equitable land distribution must be carried out, for attaining food security and food sovereignty the control of corporations, especially agro-chemical corporations must be eliminated. All this is only possible if the farmers including women are central to decision making in rural economy, and of course agroecology is made the basis for healthy, sustainable food production systems. Only these measures will guarantee a sustainable society.

The demands put forward by PKMT and Roots for Equity include.

Released by: Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek & Roots for Equity

‘THE WORLD IS AGAINST THEM’: NEW ERA OF CANCER LAWSUITS THREATEN MONSANTO

October 8, 2018 / Published at The Guardian

by Carey Gillam and Sam Levin

Dean Brooks grasped on to the shopping cart, suddenly unable to stand or breathe. Later, at a California emergency room, a nurse with teary eyes delivered the news, telling his wife, Deborah, to hold out hope for a miracle. It was December 2015 when they learned that a blood cancer called non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) was rapidly attacking the man’s body and immune system.

By July 2016, Dean was dead. Deborah gets emotional recounting the gruesome final chapter of the love of her life. But in recent months, she has had reason to be hopeful again.

In an historic verdict in August, a jury ruled that Monsanto had caused a man’s terminal cancer and ordered the agrochemical corporation to pay $289m in damages. The extraordinary decision, exposing the potential hazards of the world’s most widely used herbicide, has paved the way for thousands of other cancer patients and families to seek justice and compensation in court.

“It’s like a serial killer, but it’s a product,” said Brooks, 57, who has a pending case against Monsanto, alleging that her husband’s use of the company’s popular weedkiller at their home led to his fatal disease. “It’s unconscionable … I don’t see how they can win. The world is against them.”

Brooks said she cried when she learned that a jury had ruled in favor of Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, the terminally ill former school groundskeeper who became the first person to take Monsanto to trial over Roundup. The verdict stated that Monsanto “acted with malice”, knew or should have known its chemical was dangerous, and failed to warn consumers about the risks.

Monsanto has filed an appeal, and a hearing is scheduled for Wednesday in San Francisco. The stakes are high for Monsanto and Bayer, the German pharmaceutical giant that acquired the company earlier this year. Energized by the Johnson win, a snowballing series of courtroom challenges are now threatening the legacy and finances of the corporations – and the future of a chemical that is ubiquitous around the globe.

The fight against 8,000 plaintiffs

Monsanto has argued that “junk science” led to the jury’s ruling on the chemical called glyphosate, which the company brought to market in 1974. Sold under numerous brands, including Roundup and Ranger Pro, the herbicide is now worth billions of dollars in revenues and is registered in 130 countries, with approvals for use on more than 100 crops.

The Johnson v Monsanto trial was groundbreaking before it even began, because a judge allowed the plaintiff’s attorneys to present research and expert testimony on glyphosate and health risks – scientific evidence that the jury ultimately found credible and compelling.

Johnson, who is not expected to survive for more than two years, said he had prolonged exposures to glyphosate while applying the herbicide to school properties, at least twice accidentally getting large amounts of the chemical on his skin. Because Monsanto has insisted that the product is safe and has no cancer warnings on its labels, Johnson said he did not know about the risks until it was too late.

His award of $289m, which included $250m in punitive damages, is a game-changer for the 46-year-old, who will leave behind a wife and three children. But Monsanto is fighting to keep it from him.

“It’s a big red flag for the company,” said Jean M Eggen, professor emerita at Widener University Delaware Law School, adding of the verdict: “It brings more people out who might not otherwise sue.”

Roughly 8,700 plaintiffs have made similar cases in state courts across the country, alleging that exposure to glyphosate-based herbicides led to various types of cancer. The impact could be huge if Monsanto continues to fight and lose in jury trials, and an accumulation of wins could force the company to consider settling with plaintiffs.

“It could become very costly,” said Eggen, comparing the fight to that of the tobacco industry, which aggressively fought cases in court but eventually decided settlements were the best option. “It’s really a business decision.”

Monsanto may ultimately consider changing the labels to warn consumers about cancer risks and work to settle with consumers who have had high exposures, said Lars Noah, University of Florida law professor: “It’s sort of a wake-up call that their strategy was unrealistic.”

Of the thousands of cases, there are more than 10 trials on track to start in 2019 and 2020, with court battles ramping up in California, Montana, Delaware, Kansas City and St Louis (where Monsanto is headquartered). Farmers, gardeners, government employees, landscapers and a wide range of others have alleged that Monsanto’s products sickened them or killed their loved ones.

“This is a tremendous number of trials for one year and will allow plaintiffs to get critical evidence in front of juries – evidence not seen before,” said the attorney Aimee Wagstaff.

The first plaintiffs who may have an opportunity to face Monsanto in a courtroom are Alberta and Alva Pilliod, a California couple. Alberta, 74, has brain cancer while her husband, 76, suffers from a bone cancer that he said has invaded his pelvis and spine – both forms of NHL.

Given their age and cancer diagnoses, their lawyers have argued they have a right to a speedy trial. Monsanto, however, has opposed the request, and a hearing on the matter is set for Tuesday.

The couple, who have two children and four grandchildren, used Roundup from the 1970s until a few years ago – around their yard and on multiple properties they purchased and renovated. The couple said they chose the herbicide because they believed it wouldn’t be harmful to the deer, ducks and other animals that roamed their property. They were also sure it was safe for themselves.

“We are very angry. We hope to get justice,” Alberta told the Guardian, noting that they didn’t use protective gear when they sprayed and would not have used Roundup the way they did if they knew the risks. “If we had been given accurate information, if we had been warned, this wouldn’t have happened.”

Alva said the cancer had destroyed their lives: “It has been a miserable few years.”

Their lawyers hope to go to trial before it’s too late. Alberta’s doctors have said she has “substantially high risk” for recurrence, has “deep brain lesions” from the cancer – and is likely to die if she does relapse.

‘We are not going to be silent’

The Pilliods and other plaintiffs taking on the company have long argued that Monsanto led a “prolonged campaign of misinformation to convince government agencies, farmers and the general public that Roundup was safe”.

Attorneys have cited internal Monsanto records that they say demonstrate how the company has manipulated and corrupted the scientific record with respect to the herbicide’s safety. The scrutiny has escalated in recent weeks.

On 26 September, the prominent scientific journal Critical Reviews in Toxicology issued an “expression of concern”, saying that its published research finding glyphosate to be safe had not fully declared Monsanto’s involvement.

The high-profile correction came after litigation revealed that the company was involved in organizing and editing article drafts. Monsanto was linked to a scientific review that countered a crucial 2015 International Agency for Research on Cancer classification of glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen.

More evidence could emerge at forthcoming trials about Monsanto’s questionable involvements in scientific papers, plaintiffs’ attorneys said.

A Bayer spokesman, Utz Klages, said in an email that the number of cases filed was “not indicative of the merits of the litigation”. He called glyphosate a “breakthrough for modern agriculture” and “cost-effective tool that can be used safely to control a wide range of weeds”.

Regulatory reviews and scientific studies have demonstrated that glyphosate is safe and not a cause of NHL, he said, adding: “The Johnson verdict is not final and concerns a single, specific case.”

John Barton, a California farmer who used Roundup for decades and was diagnosed with NHL in 2015, said he was eager to go to trial, especially since Monsanto and Bayer were still telling the public that glyphosate was safe.

“Monsanto needs to realize that we are not going to be silent any more,” said Barton, a third-generation farmer, who is part of a California lawsuit filed by the Baum Hedlund firm, which represented Johnson. “We are not going to roll over and play dead … People should be warned that this stuff is everywhere and we should be careful of this product.”

Barton, 69, said he also feared that his three sons could get sick due to their Roundup exposure.

“My dad exposed me to this. He never would’ve done that if he knew it was dangerous,” he added. “I have this guilt that I may have endangered my own sons.”

Deborah Brooks described NHL as “torture”, recounting her husband lying on towels on the floor trying to stop endless nosebleeds and the constant illnesses that plagued him while his immune system suffered.

“Nobody should have to go through that. It takes life in such a terrible way,” said Brooks, whose husband was 72 years old when he died. “I’m fighting for the honor of my husband and all the others that have come before and will come after … My heart goes out to those victims who don’t know they’re victims.”

Bayer declined to comment about the Brooks or Barton cases. A spokeswoman, Charla Lord, said in an email that because the Pilliods are both in remission and there was “no indication of any imminent cancer recurrence”, the company is arguing that an early trial date was not warranted.

Legal experts said it was possible the Johnson appeal could lead to a reduced monetary award. The courts could also find that there was insufficient evidence to prove that glyphosate causes cancer or that attorneys failed to demonstrate that the herbicide caused Johnson’s cancer.

Those outcomes could be devastating for Johnson and a setback for those fighting glyphosate. But cancer patients and families across the country will be able to push forward regardless of what happens in San Francisco, said David Levine, a University of California Hastings law professor.

“Even if Monsanto gets a complete victory here, it’s not going to stop other plaintiffs.”

http://careygillam.com/articles/article/the-world-is-against-them-new-era-of-cancer-lawsuits-threaten-monsanto

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/oct/07/monsanto-trial-cancer-appeal-glyphosate-chemical

U.S. threats stun world health agency

Opposition to Breast-Feeding Resolution by U.S. Stuns World Health Officials

By Andrew Jacobs

July 8, 2018

A resolution to encourage breast-feeding was expected to be approved quickly and easily by the hundreds of government delegates who gathered this spring in Geneva for the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly.

Based on decades of research, the resolution says that mother’s milk is healthiest for children and countries should strive to limit the inaccurate or misleading marketing of breast milk substitutes.

Then the United States delegation, embracing the interests of infant formula manufacturers, upended the deliberations.

American officials sought to water down the resolution by removing language that called on governments to “protect, promote and support breast-feeding” and another passage that called on policymakers to restrict the promotion of food products that many experts say can have deleterious effects on young children.

When that failed, they turned to threats, according to diplomats and government officials who took part in the discussions. Ecuador, which had planned to introduce the measure, was the first to find itself in the cross hairs.

The Americans were blunt: If Ecuador refused to drop the resolution, Washington would unleash punishing trade measures and withdraw crucial military aid. The Ecuadorean government quickly acquiesced.

The showdown over the issue was recounted by more than a dozen participants from several countries, many of whom requested anonymity because they feared retaliation from the United States.

Health advocates scrambled to find another sponsor for the resolution, but at least a dozen countries, most of them poor nations in Africa and Latin America, backed off, citing fears of retaliation, according to officials from Uruguay, Mexico and the United States.

“We were astonished, appalled and also saddened,” said Patti Rundall, the policy director of the British advocacy group Baby Milk Action, who has attended meetings of the assembly, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization, since the late 1980s.

“What happened was tantamount to blackmail, with the U.S. holding the world hostage and trying to overturn nearly 40 years of consensus on the best way to protect infant and young child health,” she said.

In the end, the Americans’ efforts were mostly unsuccessful. It was the Russians who ultimately stepped in to introduce the measure — and the Americans did not threaten them.

The State Department declined to respond to questions, saying it could not discuss private diplomatic conversations. The Department of Health and Human Services, the lead agency in the effort to modify the resolution, explained the decision to contest the resolution’s wording but said H.H.S. was not involved in threatening Ecuador.

“The resolution as originally drafted placed unnecessary hurdles for mothers seeking to provide nutrition to their children,” an H.H.S. spokesman said in an email. “We recognize not all women are able to breast-feed for a variety of reasons. These women should have the choice and access to alternatives for the health of their babies, and not be stigmatized for the ways in which they are able to do so.” The spokesman asked to remain anonymous in order to speak more freely.

Although lobbyists from the baby food industry attended the meetings in Geneva, health advocates said they saw no direct evidence that they played a role in Washington’s strong-arm tactics. The $70 billion industry, which is dominated by a handful of American and European companies, has seen sales flatten in wealthy countries in recent years, as more women embrace breast-feeding. Over all, global sales are expected to rise by 4 percent in 2018, according to Euromonitor, with most of that growth occurring in developing nations.

The intensity of the administration’s opposition to the breast-feeding resolution stunned public health officials and foreign diplomats, who described it as a marked contrast to the Obama administration, which largely supported W.H.O.’s longstanding policy of encouraging breast-feeding.

During the deliberations, some American delegates even suggested the United States might cut its contribution to the W.H.O., several negotiators said. Washington is the single largest contributor to the health organization, providing $845 million, or roughly 15 percent of its budget, last year.

The confrontation was the latest example of the Trump administration siding with corporate interests on numerous public health and environmental issues.

In talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Americans have been pushing for language that would limit the ability of Canada, Mexico and the United States to put warning labels on junk food and sugary beverages, according to a draft of the proposal reviewed by The New York Times.

During the same Geneva meeting where the breast-feeding resolution was debated, the United States succeeded in removing statements supporting soda taxes from a document that advises countries grappling with soaring rates of obesity.

The Americans also sought, unsuccessfully, to thwart a W.H.O. effort aimed at helping poor countries obtain access to lifesaving medicines. Washington, supporting the pharmaceutical industry, has long resisted calls to modify patent laws as a way of increasing drug availability in the developing world, but health advocates say the Trump administration has ratcheted up its opposition to such efforts.

The delegation’s actions in Geneva are in keeping with the tactics of an administration that has been upending alliances and long-established practices across a range of multilateral organizations, from the Paris climate accord to the Iran nuclear deal to Nafta.

Ilona Kickbusch, director of the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, said there was a growing fear that the Trump administration could cause lasting damage to international health institutions like the W.H.O. that have been vital in containing epidemics like Ebola and the rising death toll from diabetes and cardiovascular disease in the developing world.

“It’s making everyone very nervous, because if you can’t agree on health multilateralism, what kind of multilateralism can you agree on?” Ms. Kickbusch asked.

A Russian delegate said the decision to introduce the breast-feeding resolution was a matter of principle.

“We’re not trying to be a hero here, but we feel that it is wrong when a big country tries to push around some very small countries, especially on an issue that is really important for the rest of the world,” said the delegate, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

He said the United States did not directly pressure Moscow to back away from the measure. Nevertheless, the American delegation sought to wear down the other participants through procedural maneuvers in a series of meetings that stretched on for two days, an unexpectedly long period.

In the end, the United States was largely unsuccessful. The final resolution preserved most of the original wording, though American negotiators did get language removed that called on the W.H.O. to provide technical support to member states seeking to halt “inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children.”

The United States also insisted that the words “evidence-based” accompany references to long-established initiatives that promote breast-feeding, which critics described as a ploy that could be used to undermine programs that provide parents with feeding advice and support.

Elisabeth Sterken, director of the Infant Feeding Action Coalition in Canada, said four decades of research have established the importance of breast milk, which provides essential nutrients as well as hormones and antibodies that protect newborns against infectious disease.

2016 study in The Lancet found that universal breast-feeding would prevent 800,000 child deaths a year across the globe and yield $300 billion in savings from reduced health care costs and improved economic outcomes for those reared on breast milk.

Scientists are loath to carry out double-blind studies that would provide one group with breast milk and another with breast milk substitutes. “This kind of ‘evidence-based’ research would be ethically and morally unacceptable,” Ms. Sterken said.

Abbott Laboratories, the Chicago-based company that is one of the biggest players in the $70 billion baby food market, declined to comment.

Nestlé, the Switzerland-based food giant with significant operations in the United States, sought to distance itself from the threats against Ecuador and said the company would continue to support the international code on the marketing of breast milk substitutes, which calls on governments to regulate the inappropriate promotion of such products and to encourage breast-feeding.

In addition to the trade threats, Todd C. Chapman, the United States ambassador to Ecuador, suggested in meetings with officials in Quito, the Ecuadorean capital, that the Trump administration might also retaliate by withdrawing the military assistance it has been providing in northern Ecuador, a region wracked by violence spilling across the border from Colombia, according to an Ecuadorean government official who took part in the meeting.

The United States Embassy in Quito declined to make Mr. Chapman available for an interview.

“We were shocked because we didn’t understand how such a small matter like breast-feeding could provoke such a dramatic response,” said the Ecuadorean official, who asked not to be identified because she was afraid of losing her job.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/08/health/world-health-breastfeeding-ecuador-trump.html