GENET archive

[Index][Thread]

REGULATION: Tortilla-hungry Mexico setting rules on GMO corn







------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  TORTILLA-HUNGRY MEXICO SETTING RULES ON GMO CORN

SOURCE: Reuters

AUTHOR: 

URL:    http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUSN1722875320070717

DATE:   17.07.2007

------------------ archive:  http://www.genet-info.org/ ------------------


TORTILLA-HUNGRY MEXICO SETTING RULES ON GMO CORN

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico, widely considered the birthplace of corn, is close to finalizing rules governing experimental planting of genetically modified corn strains, a senior biosecurity official said on Tuesday.

In Mexico, where tortillas made from corn are eaten with almost every meal, the government is determined to boost output in the next few years to offset rising prices driven by U.S. demand for corn-based ethanol fuel.

Mexico’s biggest grain farmers have long lobbied to lift a 1998 ban on GMO corn plantings, arguing it would help lift lagging crop yields. But environmental activists say GMO would put Mexico’s numerous local corn strains at risk.

Reynaldo Alvarez, who heads Mexico’s biosecurity commission, said the president’s office now had a copy of the proposed regulations.

”They are revising the final draft,” Alvarez told Reuters. ”I would hope it will be ready in the next two months.”

Mexico last year passed a biosecurity law designed to permit plantings in certain regions under controlled conditions to be set in the regulatory document.

The rules would likely prohibit farmers in regions that contain the oldest strains of corn from planting GMO material, Alvarez said.

Even with the rules established, he said, it could still take time for test requests from biotech firms to be approved. He said such requests would be resolved with within 90 days.

U.S. companies like Monsanto Co. and DuPont Co. want to enter the Mexican seed market with GMO strains. A large group representing small corn farmers recently signed a good-will deal with Monsanto.

Scientists have found evidence the grain was grown in Mexico as far back as 5,300 BC, placing it as the likely cradle of corn cultivation. The country has a huge variety of locally specific corn strains that farmers have bred over generations.

Despite that history, Mexico imports millions of tons of corn each year and was hard hit when grains prices rocketed in January as demand for ethanol fuel soared in the United States.


-----------------------------

GENET

European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

Hartmut MEYER (Mr)

news & information

phone....... +49-531-5168746

fax......... +49-531-5168747

email....... news(*)genet-info.org

skype....... hartmut_meyer

url......... http://www.genet-info.org/