By Fadi Didi
Federal officials in the U-S say three types of potatoes genetically engineered to resist the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine are safe for the environment and safe to eat.
The approval by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gives Idaho-based J.R. Simplot Company permission to plant the potatoes this spring and sell them in the fall.
The company said the potatoes contain only potato genes, and that the resistance to late blight, the disease that caused the Irish potato famine, comes from an Argentine variety of potato that naturally produced a defence.
The three varieties are the Russet Burbank, Ranger Russet and Atlantic.
Officials who attended a meeting in southern Alberta about the amount of light from local greenhouses are describing the discussions as ``cordial'' and ``positive.''
The Medicine Hat Regional Airport has complained that a decision by the local county to allow nearby greenhouses to be lit at night is affecting safety.
Cypress County sat down with representatives of the local greenhouse community, airport representatives and local pilots recently to discuss the issue.
A working committee, made up of representatives from all sides, will work toward finding a solution.
Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay is on a trade mission to Vietnam and India until March 10th.
He is with a group of Canadian industry associations representing a variety of agriculture, agri-food and seafood sectors.
Last year, Canadian businesses exported more than 261 million dollars in agricultural, agri-food and fish and seafood products to
Vietnam, and more than one billion dollars to India.
MacAulay says the Asia-Pacific region is a priority market for Canada.
The government of South Sudan and three United Nations agencies have declared a state of famine in two counties.
They say the calamity is the result of prolonged civil war and an entrenched economic crisis that has devastated the war-torn East African nation.
A government official says the war has disrupted the otherwise fertile country, causing civilians to rely on whatever plants they can find and what fish they can catch.
It is estimated nearly three-quarters of all households in the country suffer from inadequate food.