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A Bleak January for Agribusiness: GMOs Rejected Over Three Continents

It is a black January for agribusiness lobbyists and stakeholders. Mexico, Peru and Tanzania closed the doors to GMOs, while the Italian government was pushed, by an extensive civil society campaign, not only to confirm the ban to the old generation of GMOs but also to new generations, including New Breeding Techniques (NBTs). These steps taken can be considered a success for all the farmers and civil society movements who are fighting to keep their seed and food sovereignty safe from multinationals. Otherwise, by imposing GMOs, companies would put farmers and consumers at their leash by gaining property rights on seed.

To stop this effort, a Presidential Decree in Mexico to begin the phase out of “use, acquisition, distribution, promotion, and import” of glyphosate went into effect on January 1, 2021, with a transition period lasting until January 2025. The Decree also stops authorities from granting permits for the release of GM maize seeds to protect the country’s food security and food sovereignty, its native corn and their traditional cornfields (“milpas”). The ban is also meant to conserve the country’s biocultural wealth in order to “safeguard human health, the country’s bio-cultural diversity, and the environment” by replacing glyphosate with sustainable, culturally appropriate alternatives. Likewise, the biosafety authorities are to “revoke and refrain” from granting authorisations for the use of GM maize in food, which is heavily imported by the United States, with the phase out to be completed no later than January 31, 2024. A move which sparked much criticism from the agribusiness lobby, while providing relief to small farmer organizations.

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