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Dry Australia cuts wheat forecast

sydney / reuters / Australia has cut its forecast for wheat production in the 2012-13 crop-marketing year by about seven per cent from its previous forecast to 22.5 million tonnes.

And it’s warning yields may fall further if rains don’t arrive soon in some areas.

Australia had a record 29.5-million-tonne wheat harvest last year, but weather conditions have been less favourable this time.

Australia wheat production is expected to fall in all states with the exception of Queensland, with Western Australia set to see the largest fall in production.

Claims children used in trial sparks uproar

beijing / reuters /China’s health authorities will investigate allegations that genetically modified rice was tested on Chinese children as part of a Sino-U.S. research project.

While China, already the world’s largest grower of GM cotton and top importer of GM soybeans, has approved home-grown strains of rice, it remains cautious about introducing the technology on a commercial basis amid widespread public concern about food safety.

The government says it will investigate Greenpeace claims that a 2008 USDA-backed study used 24 Chinese children aged between six and eight to test genetically modified “golden rice” — which contains beta carotene and is intended to alleviate vitamin A deficiency.

The Greenpeace report sparked a wave of criticism on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.

Olive oil prices shoot up

hamburg / reuters Olive oil prices are shooting up after a poor olive crop in key producer Spain and more price rises are expected in coming months, Hamburg-based edible oils analysts Oil World said Sept. 11.

“Olive oil prices exploded by 40 per cent during the past 10 weeks and are set to rise further on sharply reduced world production in 2012-13,” Oil World said.

The trend is mainly because of drought in Spain, which is forecast to cut the country’s olive oil production in the season running from October 2012 through September 2013 to only 1.08 million tonnes, from 1.72 million in the previous season.

“Severe drought has taken its toll on olive trees as well as other agricultural crops,” it said.

The drought may cause olive oil output to fall 50 per cent in some Spanish regions, it said.

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