GMO news related to Mexico

08.10.2021 |

Mexico quietly rejects application for GMO corn imports

For the first time, Mexico’s health safety regulator Cofepris has rejected a new variety of GMO corn, the head of the country’s National Farm Council (CNA) told Reuters. While Mexico has never permitted commercial cultivation of GMO corn, it has for decades allowed imports of such varieties that are largely used for feed. Mexico is a major market for U.S. exports of the corn, importing more than 16 MMT of primarily GMO corn from the U.S. in 2020.

Mexican President Lopez Obrador issued a decree late last year that would ban use of both glyphosate and GMO corn for human consumption by 2024, and there’s still a lot of uncertainty as to whether the GMO ban would also apply to livestock feed.

19.07.2021 |

Why Mexico's phaseout of glyphosate and GMO corn may help to reverse years of U.S. trade policy

President López Obrador’s decree could forge the “hope at home” U.S. officials espouse.

(.....) On December 31, 2020, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador signed a decree that could enable Mexican farmers to reclaim their livelihoods within their home country. The order calls for the phase-out by 2024 of two pillars of American agribusiness: glyphosate and genetically engineered (GE) corn, particularly corn grain consumed as part of “the diet of Mexican women and men.”

Glyphosate is an herbicide sprayed on corn and other crops that have been genetically engineered to tolerate its plant-killing properties. It is the active ingredient in Roundup, a flagship product of the company formerly known as Monsanto, that, in 2018, was acquired and fully absorbed by the German chemical company Bayer.

11.06.2021 |

Mexico stalling GMO corn permits ahead of ban, says top farm lobby

MEXICO CITY, June 10 (Reuters) - Mexico is holding up import permits for GMO corn, the head of the country's main farm lobby told Reuters, saying the government intended to apply a GMO ban to the grain used in animal feed despite contradictory comments by a top U.S. official.

In an interview, National Farm Council President Juan Cortina said among hundreds of agricultural product import permits awaiting a resolution are at least eight for genetically modified corn even though the ban is not set to go into effect for three years.

"They're not giving us extensions, there haven't been any administrative changes, they just don't respond," said Cortina, referring to delays of up to two years from the Health Ministry's sanitary protection agency, COFEPRIS, which is responsible for approving the permits.

08.06.2021 |

Mexico wants to import non-GMO corn and US farmers say they can deliver it

Mexico's GMO corn ban presents an opportunity for US farmers to supply non-GMO corn south of the border. By Ken Roseboro

While US agribusiness groups are trying to pressure Mexico into abandoning their announced bans on glyphosate herbicide and imports of genetically modified corn by 2024, US suppliers of non-GMO seed and grain see an opportunity to supply Mexico with non-GMO corn.

"Could we supply Mexico? Absolutely," says Bill Niebur, president of High Fidelity Genetics, an Iowa-based non-GMO corn seed company. "In terms of acres, it's not a problem. Instead of criticizing Mexico, let's provide it to them."

Ken Dallmier, CEO of Clarkson Grain, an Illinois-based supplier of organic and non-GMO grains, agrees. "Given time and focus, I think it's completely feasible," he says. "Mexico is a key trading partner, and all the logistics of Mexican grain import come through the US. It's matter of planning and market."

16.02.2021 |

Modified genes can distort wild cotton’s interactions with insects

In Mexico, acquired herbicide resistance and insecticide genes can disrupt cotton’s ecosystem

Cotton plants native to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula may all look the same — unkempt and untamed bushes with flowers that shift from pale yellow to violet as pollinators visit them. But genes that have escaped from genetically modified cotton crops have made some of these native plants fundamentally different, changing their biology and the way they interact with insects.

One type of escaped gene makes wild cotton exude less nectar. With no means to attract defensive ants that protect it from plant eaters, the cotton is devoured. Another escaped gene makes the wild cotton produce excess nectar, enticing a lot of ants that might keep other insects, including pollinators, at bay, researchers report on January 21 in Scientific Reports.

“These are profoundly interesting effects,” says Norman Ellstrand, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Riverside. “It’s the first case that really suggests that a whole ecosystem can be disrupted” after transgenes enter a wild population.

02.01.2021 |

Mexico farm lobby blasts ban on GMO corn; organic growers welcome it

MONTERREY, Mexico (Reuters) - Mexico’s main agricultural lobby on Saturday criticized the government’s decision to ban genetically modified corn, while organic growers hailed the move that should protect smaller farmers.

Mexico will “revoke and refrain from granting permits for the release of genetically modified corn seeds into the environment,” stated a decree issued Thursday evening, which also mandated the phase out of GMO corn imports by 2024.

Proponents of GMO corn say the ban on domestic cultivation would limit the options of Mexican farmers, while phasing out its importation could imperil the food chain.

30.11.2020 |

Leydy Pech - Goldman Environmental Foundation

Leydy Pech, an indigenous Mayan beekeeper, led a coalition that successfully halted Monsanto’s planting of genetically modified soybeans in southern Mexico. The Mexican Supreme Court ruled that the government violated the Mayans’ constitutional rights and suspended the planting of genetically modified soybeans. Because of the persistence of Pech and her coalition, in September 2017, Mexico’s Food and Agricultural Service revoked Monsanto’s permit to grow genetically modified soybeans in seven states.

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In 2000, Monsanto began growing small, experimental plots of genetically modified (GM) soybeans in Mexico. In 2010 and 2011, these projects were elevated to “pilot projects” by the government. The GM soybean used by Monsanto (now owned by Bayer) is known as “Roundup Ready,” a reference to the plant’s programmed genetic tolerance to high doses of the herbicide Roundup (also a Monsanto product). The main ingredient in Roundup is glyphosate, a probable carcinogen that is also linked to miscarriages and birth defects.

29.04.2020 |

Native Corn Is Now Protected as of Part of Mexico’s National Heritage

Many heritages take pride in the products, crops, and material goods they make and provide that are indigenous to their location. These products, at times, are stolen or dishonestly acquired by others and claimed as their own. Mexico, a country known for many indigenous goods, is taking measures to make sure that one very special crop is protected from plundering.

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The new bill seeks to guarantee the preservation and promotion of native Mexican corn varieties against competition from other countries who are trying to replicate modern hybrids and GMO (or genetically modified) corn. “Genetically modified corn” refers to varieties of corn that have been developed to be resistant to certain kinds of infestations and adverse climate conditions such as drought.

12.04.2019 |

An unlikely feud between beekeepers and Mennonites simmers in Mexico

Survival is at stake as Mennonite colonies’ illegal soy farms threaten the livelihood of Maya beekeepers.

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Mexico is the world’s fourth largest producer of honey and much of that comes from the Yucatán, where indigenous Maya have kept bees for centuries. Today, it’s a main source of income for thousands of families. Some 15,000 tons of honey leave the Yucatán annually for the European Union. At the same time that Mexico approved GM soy plantings, Europe announced that honey shipments would be tested for GMO traces, labeled, and possibly rejected. This foray into transgenics and the accompanying harsh pesticides made beekeepers nervous. Then, as they began to observe the effects on their bees, it made them furious. (Read about Nepal’s last death-defying honey hunter.)

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In the Yucatán, issues of pesticides, deforestation, and land ownership tangle into one, and both beekeepers and Mennonites see their livelihoods at stake. The governments of all three Yucatán states have pledged to end deforestation and begin restoring land on the peninsula by 2030. But a recent effort by the local Yucatán government to create a statewide GMO-free zone was challenged in court by the federal government. A new administration took power this year and some beekeepers see promise in it. In meetings this winter, they asked officials to ban chemicals known to harm bees, along with aerial spraying, and to support organic farmers.

04.10.2018 |

Mexico’s new science minister is a plant biologist who opposes transgenic crops

MEXICO CITY—In early June, evolutionary developmental biologist Elena Álvarez-Buylla received an out-of-the-blue phone call from the campaign of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, then the front-runner in Mexico's presidential election, with a question. If López Obrador won, would she consider becoming the next director of the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt), the country's science ministry and primary granting agency? "My first reaction was to say, ‘I can't,’" recalls Álvarez-Buylla, a professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) here. "I have a great passion for scientific research," and she couldn't imagine leaving the laboratory.

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Álvarez-Buylla led a team that confirmed the results of the 2001 study and has continued to hunt for transgenic DNA and any possible effects in Mexican landraces, work that helped her win Mexico's National Science Prize in 2017. She says she has nothing against genetic engineering in itself; her team creates and studies GM plants in the lab, and such experiments should not be prohibited or restricted, she says. "I'm not a Luddite who is scared of technology." But her own experiments have shown introduced genes can have unpredictable effects. "If a transgene is inserted in one part of [a plant's] genome, it can be silenced and have no effect. If it's inserted in another part, it can lead to a tremendous change," she says. That unpredictability makes it too risky to allow GM maize anywhere near Mexico's landraces, she argues. Planting GM maize in Mexico has been prohibited since 2013, pending the outcome of a lawsuit. Álvarez-Buylla has been an outspoken proponent of a permanent ban.

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