GM free corn


It's been an exciting couple of months in the debate over Mexican maize with some good news for Mexican agriculture and biodiversity. However, the consequences of recent frosts in northern states and the aggressive propaganda of the industry is still putting at risk Mexican’s basic grain. Here’s the latest:

GM free States arising in Mexico:

Because of the lack of interest of federal government to protect the large diversity of Mexican maize against the contamination of GM crop, Michoacán State congress passed by a majority the “Law of Promotion and Protection of Native Maize as Alimentary Patrimony of Michoacán State”, which will allow the protection of 18 of the 59 races of this crop that exist in Mexico. Michoacán is the fourth largest maize producer on a national scale and represents 30 percent of Mexico’s total maize crop area.

Michoacán’s initiative follows the recent approval of the “Law of Promotion and Protection of Native Maize as an original patrimony, in constant diversification, and alimentary for Tlaxcala State”. Both states decided to go ahead with the protection of such an important crop for Mexican society. This process is directly related to the lack of political will of the federal government to promote local production and the fierce interest of multinational companies such as Monsanto, Syngenta, Pioneer and Dow Agroscience to impose GM maize within Mexican territory. We hope that this process will continue and that more and more states will protect their maizes races, especially the northern states that are currently developing GM maize experimental trials such as “Sinaloa” and “Chihuahua”.

Learn more about the origin and diversity of maize in the american continent, Tlaxcala, Michoacán.

Another defeat for Monsanto

In January, the secretary of agriculture announced his decision to deny pilot trials to Monsanto in the State of Sinaloa - principal producer of white corn for human consumption in Mexico. Pilot trials are the next step after the experimental stage.We have been working hard in this state, facing the will of local authorities that are closely linked to the industry and have distributed GM maize propaganda widely within the region.
Recently we’ve released a new report ““Cultivos transgénicos: cero ganancias” (GM crops,zero profit”) in local meetings. Moreover, in 2007 we made a formal complaint to theProcuraduría General de Protección al Ambiente (Profepa) (Environment Protection Agency).We received additional information in 2010 related to the irregularities in GM trials in Sinaloa state. We published this information and we asked for the suspension of experimental trials in the country. Here is the what the government press release had to say: This is why all Federal Government resolutions are based in scientific principles are decided impartially according to the Law of Biosafety of Genetically Modified Organisms and all the implications it has of official institutions that are concerned”

Read the whole press release in Spanish.

Biotech industry's propaganda after bad harvests

On the other side, the consequences of recent frosts in northern states on maize production
and the aggressive propaganda of the industry is still putting Mexican’s basic grain at risk.

Our warnings to the Mexican government have fallen on deaf ears and now the tragic loss of more than 5 millions foods grain confirms our worse fears: a model that neglects and excludes indigenous and small corn producers from public policies, that ignores and doesn't take care of the ecological production and instead concentrates the nation's resources in mono-crop industrial agriculture is vulnerable to massive failure. The biotech industry won’t hold back and wants to take advantage of the recent crisis to push forward the planting of its transgenic seeds as the magic tool against climate extremes. We are fighting hard to counter these false statements despite of their strong lobbying. The biotech companies are trying to take advantage of a dramatic situation directly related to the economical model they represent.Our struggle for Mexican maize, people and agriculture is still on, and we hope that this year will be full of victories for our campaign, in order to prevent Mexico to be a center of origin of a basic grain to liberate the GM crop on a commercial scale within its territory.

Image: GM-free maize in Mexico © Greenpeace/Gustavo Graf