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Intellectual Property Rights Trade

Famed Kashmiri saffron granted Geographical Indication (GI) tag

As per the documents, the Geographical Indication Registry has approved the GI tagging on the Kashmiri saffron, symbolizing its exclusivity in the international market. Directorate of Agriculture has been declared as a registered proprietor of the GI of saffron. In Kashmir, saffron cultivation is done on 3,715 hectares of land. GI tagging will set apart the high-quality Kashmiri saffron from the cheaper varieties of Iran, Spain, and Afghanistan.

Kashmiri saffron is of superior quality because of the higher concentration of crocin, a carotenoid pigment that gives saffron its color and medicinal value: Its crocin content is 8.72% compared to the Iranian variant’s 6.82%, which gives it a darker color and enhanced medicinal value.

Kashmiri saffron, known for its quality and aroma worldwide, has been witnessing an invasion by cheaper Iranian saffron. Iran is currently the largest producer of saffron in the world, cultivating over 300 tonnes every year on 30,000 hectares of land. Due to the bulk market capturing by the Iranian saffron, the price of Kashmiri saffron dropped by 48% after 2007.

Read more at TheKashmirMonitor

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AgTech Investments

Plantible raises $4.6 million seed round for an egg white replacement

Plantible uses duckweed, a tiny aquatic leaf, to extract a plant-based protein ingredient that will eventually allow food companies to make animal-based products into plant-based products. The offering would be attractive to companies that make baked goods or protein powder, and thus use lots of egg whites as part of their creation process.

Plantible claims to offer an egg-white replacement with no compromises on texture or nutrition.

The company just raised a $4.6 million seed round, led by Vectr Ventures and Lerer Hippeau with other investors eighteen94 Capital (Kellogg Company’s venture capital fund) and FTW Ventures. Plantible’s closest competitors in egg-white replacements category are Clara Foods and FUMI Ingredients.

Read more at TechCrunch

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Fisheries

Fish skin leather: artisans and designers are breathing new life into the tradition

Fish skin leather used to be commonplace in many cultures. As practical and pervasive as the material was, the practice of making fish skin leather faded in the 20th century. Its loss is intertwined with colonialism and assimilation. Now, it’s making a comeback. Fish skin leather is also emerging as a commodity in the world of fashion; in recent years, the material has caught the eye of designers who want to incorporate it into luxury items.

Commercial interest in fish skin leather is partly a result of consumers’ environmental and ethical concerns about the global leather supply chain. Most conventional leather like snakeskin and alligator skin is produced using harsh chemicals, such as chromium salts, which cause respiratory ailments and persistent skin ulcers in tannery workers.

Making fish skin leather is a gentler process than making conventional leather. It requires fewer harsh chemicals. Fish skin is a byproduct of the food industry that often goes to waste. Every tonne of filleted fish amounts to about 40 kilograms of skins. Fish skin leather is thin but remarkably strong because its fibers crisscross.

The revival of fish skin leather is more than the rediscovery of a craft. In a time of environmental crises, using local resources to their full extent may be an idea worth reviving.

Read more at Hakai Magazine

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Veterinary

Modern Animal, a California startup ready to disrupt Veterinarian business

Modern Animal calls itself a new kind of veterinary clinic for animals and their humans. Steve Eidelman, founder and CEO of Modern Animal, is out to disrupt the veterinary business. Eidelman explains, “We have a system that’s broken, not supporting the consumer in a way all these other industries are. We don’t have a thriving profession”. The average clinic looks ugly, it stinks, wait times are long the staff usually isn’t friendly and the phone is ringing nonstop. The customer experience is not particularly good in a veterinary clinic, and even worse, working as a veterinarian is fraught with difficulties. That’s a threat to all animals in the long term.

Modern Animal proposes to fix all those shortcoming with its first clinic in West Hollywood. It doesn’t look like any veterinary clinic you’ve seen. The Modern Animal clinic is literally transparent, with pet owners able to see all the way from the street to the back of the clinic. Modern Animal requires a membership costing $100 a year. That membership gives the pet owner full access, including 24/7 access via telemedicine.

“Does an animal need this? No, but you do.”

Read more at Forbes

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Investments

Growthwell Group raises US$8 m for scale-up of plant-based alternatives

Growthwell, a leading manufacturer of plant-based alternatives for meat and seafood for the South East Asian market, announced that it has raised US$8 million in a funding round led by Temasek, with other investors DSG Consumer Partners, Insignia Ventures, Genesis Ventures, Brandify and Mr Koh Boon Hwee participating. The proceeds from this funding round will accelerate Growthwell’s growth into alternative proteins and future food solutions, taking its vision of sustainable plant-based choices to a global stage.

Growthwell’s growth plans include the setup of an end-to-end technology centre in Singapore focusing on R&D and manufacturing. Growthwell’s vision is to be Asia’s leading plant nutrition food tech company, with an aim to care for 100 million lives with sustainable and nutritious plant-based choices while reducing the world’s overall meat consumption.

Read more at MediaOutReach

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Articles

Factory Farming – A glimpse of future of agriculture

Farming is going to be the next Manufacturing. Farms, are becoming more like factories: tightly controlled operations for turning out reliable products, immune as far as possible from the vagaries of nature. By 2050, the planet’s population is likely to rise to 9.7 billion, a rise of 2 billion from now. Along with increase in population, there is a substantial increase in the lifestyle. Those people will not only need to eat, they will want to eat better than people do now, because of higher incomes. Since most land suitable for farming is already farmed, this growth must come from higher yields.

What are the changes happening in the way we grow our food?

  1. Protected cultivation: By growing plants in warehouses, shipping containers, and city-adjacent greenhouses, next-gen farmers claim they are able to eliminate the threat of unpredictable weather, waste less water, reduce transportation costs and fasten the production cycle.
  2. Data driven agriculture: Farming is becoming a branch of matrix algebra. Farm operations involve a set of variables, such as the weather, soil’s moisture levels and nutrient content, competition to crops from weeds, threats to their health from pests and diseases, and the costs of taking action to deal with these things. If the algebra is done correctly, the yield gets optimised resulting in maximization of profit.
  3. Lab grown meat: There may be an even better way to grow meat, the animal tissue most wanted by consumers, than on animals themselves. This means growing the cells in reactor vessels filled with nutrient broth. To make it similar to animal meat, the cells must be attached to fat and other related components, so the idea is to grow them on small spheres floating in the vessels. Fat cells, which add juiciness to meat, are cultured separately. Whether it’s chicken created in the lab, crickets and beetles ground up in energy bars or plant-based burgers that ‘bleed’ there’s no shortage of innovation when it comes to alternative proteins.
  4. Synthetic eggs: Researchers are developing synthetic egg white, using transgenic yeast to secrete the required proteins. Indeed, they hope to improve on natural egg white by tweaking the protein mix. They also hope their synthetic white will be acceptable to people vegans and some vegetarians, who do not currently eat eggs.
  5. Leather grown using biotechnology: Factory-grown leather promises several advantages over skins taken from animals. One is that it can be made in convenient sheets with straight edges, rather than being constrained by the irregular shapes that animals come in. Another is that it is more consistent than the natural stuff. It is devoid of the scars, marks and other defects to which real skin is inevitably prone.
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Uncategorized

The One Health Act: human health, animal health and the environment .

Human health, animal health, and the environment are all interconnected. There is a need for national framework that interconnects all of the federal agencies and departments to better prepare for, respond to and ultimately prevent the spread of diseases. The One Health Act requires the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Agriculture, in coordination with other specified agencies and departments including the Centers for Disease Control, State Department and Department of Commerce, to create a plan for addressing zoonotic disease outbreaks like coronaviruses.

This plan, called the One Health Framework, will outline how agencies share information and engage in fieldwork to help better prevent, prepare for and respond to zoonotic disease outbreaks. Zoonotic diseases – or illnesses that spread between animals and humans – can be fatal. We cannot wait for another catastrophic disease such as the coronavirus to come about before taking unified action to prevent and address these illnesses

Read more at Successful Farming

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Uncategorized

Veterinarians ready to aid human medicine in pandemic

When it fast became clear that the world faced a shortage of supplies to treat COVID-19 patients, veterinarians across the world sprang to donate medical equipment, including ventilators and surgical masks. Now, veterinary professionals from London to New York are preparing to offer something else: themselves. The strain on national health-care systems is worsened by instances of physicians and nurses becoming infected with the virus. According to a report released Tuesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of April 9, at least 9,282 health care workers in the U.S. alone had COVID-19, and at least 27 had died.

Britain’s government-backed National Health Service (NHS) last week offered select veterinarians the opportunity to earn the equivalent of up to £24,157 (USD$30,080) per year to help treat human sufferers of COVID-19. In the U.S., a number of states, including New York, Illinois and Vermont, are asking veterinarians to stand ready to assist if needed, whether by offering their medical expertise in hospitals or by taking care of the dead at mortuaries.

Read more at Veterinary Information Network

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Uncategorized

Thailand scrambles to contain major outbreak of horse-killing virus

Thailand, already battling the spread of coronavirus, is now contending with another deadly viral outbreak—in horses. With hundreds of horse deaths reported there in the last 3 weeks, horse owners are rushing to seal their animals indoors with netting, away from biting midges that spread the virus for African horse sickness (AHS). Some scientists suspect that zebras, imported from Africa, led to the outbreak. It is the first major outbreak of the disease outside Africa in 30 years, and AHS experts are worried that it could spread to neighboring countries in Southeast Asia.

The AHS virus infects horses, donkeys, and zebras, and is typically transmitted by Culicoides midges that live in warm, tropical climates. The virus causes severe heart and lung disease that kills at least 70% of infected horses, but spares zebras and most donkeys, which act as reservoirs for the virus. Thailand has now lost its AHS disease-free status with the World Organisation for Animal Health, which means it must halt its imports and exports of equine species, wild and domestic. It will take at least 2 years to apply for disease-free status again.

Read more at ScienceMag

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Uncategorized

Everyone knows fat, sugar and salt are bad for you, but no one paid any attention to starch

Starch is pervasive in the majority of processed foods we eat: fries, pizza, cookies, cakes, crackers, even gluten-free foods. Eating them enables people to add pounds almost effortlessly. Starch, essentially, floods the body with large quantities of glucose (sugar) that are rapidly digested by the body. Moreover, starch is a delivery device of harm — it carries fat, sugar and salt. Ultra-processed foods are designed to be irresistible and encourage overeating. Processing enhances palatability by adding sugar, fat and salt. Once we start eating them, it’s almost impossible to stop.

Nearly half of all American adults are obese, and almost one-tenth are severely obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When people struggle with their weight, they often blame themselves. People need to realize that starch amplifies the effects on our bodies. It’s destroying our bodies.