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.
“The lack of access to production options puts us at a disadvantage compared to our competitors, such as corn farmers in the United States,” said Laura Tamayo, spokeswoman for Mexico’s National Farm Council.
“On the other hand, the import of genetically modified grain from the U.S. is essential for many products in the agrifood chain,” added Tamayo, also a regional corporate director for Bayer, whose agrochemical unit Monsanto makes weedkiller Roundup and the GMO corn designed to survive application of the pesticide.