No import permits for transgenic maize will be issued in Mexico within three years.
Ronaldo Schemidt AFP
The Mexican government, led by leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, is saying goodbye to glyphosate and GMO corn.
A decree that came into force on January 1 announces that the authorities "will revoke and refrain from granting permits for the release into the environment of genetically modified corn seeds".
Protect native corn
Imports of transgenic maize will be gradually reduced until no import permits are issued, within three years.
This measure aims, according to the government, to contribute to food sovereignty and to protect the native corn of Mexico.
The country is, however, a major importer of this cereal: it bought 714,900 tonnes on the world market.
It is indeed a basic ingredient in the diet of Mexicans, consumed daily in the famous tortillas.
Concerning glyphosate, a controversial herbicide and classified since March 2015 as "probable carcinogen" by the National Cancer Research Center (IARC), it will be gradually eradicated with a total ban on January 31, 2024.
The decree invites the agrifood industry to turn to sustainable alternatives such as "agrochemical, biological or organic products of low toxicity, agroecological practices or those requiring intensive use of labor".
Glyphosate is notably marketed by the American firm Monsanto, a subsidiary of the agrochemicals division of the German group Bayer.
The latter announced at the end of June an agreement of more than ten billion dollars to settle more than 100,000 disputes in the United States alone concerning Roundup, its herbicide based on glyphosate accused of causing cancer.
Greenpeace welcomed the government's decisions.
"These are important steps towards ecological production that preserves biodiversity," she said in a statement.
For the association, GMOs and glyphosate endanger "the diversity of agricultural varieties conserved in fields which are fundamental for food production".
A loss of competitiveness
Unlike defenders of the environment, Proccyt, an organization representative of the agrifood industry, considered it a
"It is an affront, overt and opportunistic, which affects the entire Mexican countryside and endangers the stability of prices and the availability of strategic foods like corn,"
the organization said in a statement.
Proccyt further warned that Mexican farmers will lose their competitiveness against farmers who use the herbicide, especially Americans.
France still dependent
With these firm commitments, Mexico is establishing itself as a pioneer in Latin America and beyond.
Last October, Argentina became the first country in the world to approve the commercialization of genetically modified wheat, while in Colombia the government's mass spraying of glyphosate to destroy underground coca crops begins to be questioned. .
In Europe, only Luxembourg has for the moment committed to do without glyphosate, the marketing authorization of which in the European Union runs until the end of 2022. In an interview with Brut, French President Emmanuel Macron had mentioned "a collective failure" about the difficulty of doing without this herbicide.
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