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Mexico's GM Crops Battle Attracts Expert Attention

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Mexico is one of the most extraordinary places on Earth when it comes to agricultural biodiversity, with the majority of the country being globally recognized as a Vavilov center (1) or in other words a center of crop origin and evolution. Maize, one of the world's most widely grown agricultural crops and the main ingredient in the famous Mexican tortilla, is even known to have originated from the beautiful Tehuacan Valley (2).

Plant specialists have also described the more than 60 native varieties of maize in Mexico as a genetic trove that might prove valuable should extreme weather associated with global warming or cooling get out of hand.

It is against this background that a serious fight is currently brewing, between those who want to protect Mexico's agricultural history and biodiversity and those who see GM crops as the modern and progressive way forward.

Although GM maize caught the attention of some the country's media following an emotional court battle in 2013, which saw the cultivation of the GM crop being completely banned by a Mexican judge, the general public are allegedly still mostly unaware of the issues surrounding GMOs.

Mercedes López Martínez of Via Organica, a Mexican nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote good nutrition through organic agriculture explained that; "There is no position of the Mexican people in general regarding GM foods, as the government, violating the constitutional right of the people to healthy food, has not provided information about the risks of these GMO products, which are not even labeled.

"However, there is strong opposition from informed and organized civil society organizations, which have demanded that the government apply the precautionary principle, to protect biodiversity and crops of origin such as corn and cotton. Proof of this is the lawsuit filed by individuals and civil organizations that managed to stop all planting of GM Maize in Mexico and that is still on-going," Martínez concluded.     
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