Published: March 29, 2022

Category: GMO News

Mexico has a ban (recently affirmed by the Supreme Court) on growing genetically modified corn, but it still imports 16 million tons, mostly GMO, of it each year from the U.S. The primarily yellow corn is used for livestock fee and industrial use, including making high fructose corn syrup.

Farmer Nancy Rojas, spokesperson for the organization Red Tsiri (Tsiri is an Indigenous word for corn), would love to keep all GMO corn out of the country—to preserve the vast biodiversity contained in Mexico’s 59 native corn breeds, and to protect public health.

In December 2020, a presidential decree sought to ban GMO corn from human consumption by 2024. Although it can’t be cultivated in Mexico, the GMO imports are distributed throughout the food chain—and the GMO bans are precarious, noted Veronica Villa with the ETC Group, which monitors emerging technologies in agriculture.

The U.S. was alarmed at the decree—its corn exports to Mexico are worth $2.7 billion annually. Many Mexican farmers feel GMO corn can ensure food security, especially with drought-resistant varieties staving off some climate impacts.

But the public is increasingly appreciative of preserving native corn, a symbol of national importance—and also more concerned about health concerns from GMOs. Agricultural researcher Timothy A. Wise is encouraged by the public’s and government’s response in banning GMO corn from human consumption. In the book Eating Tomorrow: Agribusiness, Family Farmers, and the Battle for the Future of Food, Wise suggests the U.S. could retain its corn market by growing non-GMO corn instead—a proposition some American farmers are already embracing.

Source: Al Jazeera

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