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RISK ASSESSMENT & APPROVAL: Mexico rejects three requests to enlarge GE maize trials



                                  PART 1


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

TITLE:   MéXICO RECHAZA TRES SOLICITUDES DE SIEMBRA DE MAíZ GM

SOURCE:  SciDev.Net, UK

AUTHOR:  Lucina Melesio Friedman, machine translation into English added

URL:     http://www.scidev.net/en/news/mexico-rejects-three-requests-to-plant-gm-maize-.html

DATE:    15.02.2011

SUMMARY: "The Mexican government has rejected the first three requests of transition of the experimental to the pilot phase for GE maize trials. The official notice indicates that to guarantee protection to the biological diversity more information is needed than supplied in the applications."

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MéXICO RECHAZA TRES SOLICITUDES DE SIEMBRA DE MAíZ GM

CIUDAD DE MÉXICO] El gobierno mexicano ha rechazado las primeras tres solicitudes de transición de la etapa experimental a la piloto en la siembra de maíz transgénico, de acuerdo a un comunicado (18 de enero) de la Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación (SAGARPA).

Las solicitudes presentadas por la empresa Semillas y Agroproductos Monsanto pedían cultivar 15,12 hectáreas de maíz en el estado de Sinaloa.

El comunicado indica que, para garantizar protección a la diversidad biológica, en la fase experimental se deben ?contestar cuestiones cruciales referentes a la liberación al ambiente de Organismos Genéticamente Modificados (OGM) que no pueden resolverse con la información existente?. Y agrega que ?los técnicos consideran que para tener datos fehacientes [?] es necesario contar con un mayor periodo de experimentación?.

Ariel Álvarez, secretario ejecutivo de la Comisión Intersecretarial de Bioseguridad de los OGM del gobierno mexicano, dijo a SciDev.Net que esto no sentará un precedente para las demás solicitudes, ya que se analizarán caso por caso.

Puntualizó que si bien ?el maíz es uno de nuestros casos extremos, dada la riqueza de materiales criollos y parientes silvestres que tenemos, el otro extremo es la soya?, pues México no es centro de origen ni cuenta con parientes silvestres.

Aún falta que el gobierno mexicano resuelva seis solicitudes para siembra piloto de maíz en 144 hectáreas en los estados de Sinaloa y Tamaulipas, dentro de las cuales figuran dos de Monsanto, una de Dow AgroSciences y tres de PHI México, subsidiaria de Pioneer de DuPont.

Álvarez confirmó que hasta el momento todas las solicitudes son para experimentar tecnologías de resistencias a herbicidas (glifosato) e insectos, y no para condiciones climatológicas.

La siembra de maíz transgénico en México ha sido un tema polémico. Tras 11 años de moratoria, en 2009 se permitió su siembra experimental y alrededor de 2000 científicos solicitaron al gobierno su rechazo.

Antonio Serratos, investigador de la Universidad Autónoma de la Ciudad de México y coautor de uno de los más recientes estudios (2009) que han detectado contaminación de maíz transgénico en cultivos nativos mexicanos, dijo a SciDev.Net que ?esta respuesta de SAGARPA es un paliativo?, ya que consideró que la única vía para proteger las variedades nativas de maíz es ?reformulando toda la política de bioseguridad en México?, puesto que la consideró ambigua y desactualizada.

?Creo que el fondo del asunto todavía no se resuelve, y continuamos en una situación de riesgo frente a la conservación del maíz nativo mexicano?, dijo.

 

----- machine translation -----

 

The Mexican government has rejected the first three requests of transition of the experimental stage to the pilot in transgenic maize seedtime, according to an official notice (18 of January) of the Secretariat of Agriculture, Cattle ranch, Rural Development, Fishing and Alimentación (SAGARPA). The requests presented/displayed by the company Semillas and Agroproductos Monsanto asked to cultivate 15.12 hectares of maize in the state of Sinaloa. The official notice indicates that, to guarantee protection to the biological diversity, in the experimental phase referring crucial questions are due ?to answer the liberation to the atmosphere of Organismos Genéticamente Modificados (OGM) that cannot be solved with the existing information?. And it adds that ?the technicians consider that to have convincing data [?] it is necessary to count on a greater period of experimentation?. Ariel Alvarez, executive secretary of the Commission Intersecretarial de Bioseguridad of the OGM of the M
 exican government, said to SciDev.Net that this will not establish a precedent for the other requests, since they will be analyzed case by case. It emphasized that although ?the maize is one of our extreme cases, given to the wealth of Creole materials and wild relatives who we have, the other end is soya?, because Mexico is not origin center nor has wild relatives. Still lack that the Mexican government solves six requests for pilot maize sowing in 144 hectares in the states of Sinaloa and Tamaulipas, within which appears two of Monsanto, one of Dow AgroSciences and three of PHI Mexico, subsidiary of Pioneer de DuPont. Alvarez confirmed that until the moment all the requests are for undergoing technologies of resistance to weed killers (glifosato) and insects, and does not stop climatologic conditions. Transgenic maize seedtime in Mexico has been an controversial subject. After 11 years of moratorium, in 2009 its experimental sowing was allowed and around 2000 scientists th
 ey asked for to the government its rejection. Antonio Serratos, investigator of the Independent University of the City of Mexico and coauthor of one of the most recent studies (2009) that have detected transgenic maize contamination in Mexican native cultures, said to SciDev.Net that ?this answer of SAGARPA is a palliative?, since it considered that the unique one via protecting the native varieties of maize is ?reformulating all the policy of bio-security in Mexico?, since considered it ambiguous and desactualizada. ?I believe that the bottom of the subject still is not solved, and we continued in a situation of risk against the conservation of the Mexican native maize?, it said.



                                  PART 2

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

TITLE:   COMUNICADO DE PRENSA NUM. 021/11

SOURCE:  Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación, México (SAGARPA)

AUTHOR:  Press Release

URL:     http://www.sagarpa.gob.mx/saladeprensa/boletines2/paginas/2011B021.aspx

DATE:    18.01.2011

SUMMARY: "In order to advance to the pilot stage, it is considered necessary to count on more information of field, since a single experiment - by that is carried out it does not contribute conclusive data very well to advance to the pilot stage. This is especially important for Mexico being center of origin and genetic diversity for maize."

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COMUNICADO DE PRENSA NUM. 021/11

Con respecto a la postura expresada por algunas organizaciones de productores sobre la siembra de Organismos Geneticamente Modificados (OGM?s), la Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación (SAGARPA), a través del Servicio Nacional de Sanidad, Inocuidad y Calidad Agroalimentaria (SENASICA), informa:

Es responsabilidad del Gobierno Federal impulsar la productividad del campo mexicano, pero también es su responsabilidad constatar que las herramientas novedosas que se utilicen para elevar la productividad no afectan negativamente al medio ambiente, la diversidad biológica, la salud humana, o a la sanidad animal, vegetal y acuícola del país, los cuales son bienes tutelados en el marco de la Bioseguridad en México.

Derivado de lo anterior, la opinión técnica emitida por el Gobierno Federal para que la siembra de maíz genéticamente modificado en Sinaloa permanezca en la etapa experimental se basa en las siguientes consideraciones:

De acuerdo con la Ley de bioseguridad de organismos genéticamente modificados (LBOGM), en la fase experimental se garantiza un nivel adecuado y eficiente de protección del medio ambiente y la diversidad biológica, así como de la sanidad animal, vegetal y acuícola, con respecto de los efectos adversos que pudiera causar la realización de actividades con organismos genéticamente modificados con pocas o sin medidas de contención adecuadas.

En la fase experimental se hace una planeación profunda de la investigación a efectuar para contestar cuestiones cruciales referentes a la liberación al ambiente de Organismos Genéticamente Modificados (OGM?s) que no pueden resolverse con la información existente.

Durante un año específico de evaluación se pueden tener, por región autorizada, ?n? repeticiones de los experimentos, lo que nos proporciona resultados sobre el comportamiento de los OGM?s, pero sólo en ese ambiente.

Como es del conocimiento público, los ciclos agrícolas varían de un año a otro por diversas cuestiones, como el clima o la humedad, por ejemplo, que hacen favorables o adversas las condiciones para la aparición o no de plagas o malezas, es por ello que los técnicos consideran que para tener datos fehacientes del comportamiento de un OGM es necesario contar con un mayor periodo de evaluación o experimentación (con el mismo organismo receptor, misma área de liberación y mismo OGM, de acuerdo al caso por caso definido en la LBOGM).

Si el experimento se repite varios ciclos se puede obtener resultados confiables respecto a la productividad, efectividad y resistencia a plagas y enfermedades del OGM en estudio, pero lo más importante es que proporcionará elementos para conocer los riesgos con su respectivo manejo y mitigación.

La información científica recabada en la etapa experimental servirá de insumo para que la autoridad competente decida la conveniencia de cancelar o permitir que el cultivo biotecnológico pase a la siguiente etapa.

Para avanzar a la etapa piloto, se considera necesario contar con más información de campo, ya que un sólo experimento -por muy bien que sea efectuado- no aporta datos concluyentes para avanzar a la etapa piloto. Esto es especialmente relevante por ser México centro de origen y de una importante diversidad genética del maíz.

Por supuesto que un tema fundamental para el Gobierno Mexicano es elevar la competitividad y productividad del campo y, sin lugar a duda, hay apertura para la utilización de nuevas tecnologías para lograrlo; no obstante, el principal interés es garantizar que no exista riesgo para el inventario agroalimentario del país, para lo cual se toman todas las precauciones pertinentes.

Es por ello que todas las resoluciones del Gobierno Federal están basadas en criterios científicos, y se toman con imparcialidad con base en las facultades que la Ley de Bioseguridad de Organismos Genéticamente Modificados y su Reglamento confieren a cada una de las dependencias competentes para el tema de los OGM?s.

Por todo lo anterior, hacemos un llamado a los interesados y a la sociedad en general a discutir y asumir el tema con base en evidencias técnicas y científicas, siempre pensando en el bien común.

 

----- machine translation -----

 

With respect to the position expressed by some organizations of producing on seedtime of Organisms Genetically Modified (OGM?s), the Secretariat of Agriculture, Cattle ranch, Rural Development, Fishing and Alimentación (SAGARPA), through National Service of Health, Innocuity and Calidad Agroalimentaria (SENASICA), informs: It is responsibility of the Federal Government to impel the productivity of the Mexican field, but also it is his responsibility to state that the novel tools that are used to elevate the productivity negatively do not affect the environment, the biological diversity, the human health, or to the health animal, fishery vegetable and of the country, which is goods had the charge of within the framework of the Bio-security in Mexico. Derivative of the previous thing, the technical opinion expressed by the Federal Government so that maize seedtime genetically modified in Sinaloa remains in the experimental stage bases on the following considerations: In agreeme
 nt with the Law of bio-security of organisms genetically modified (LBOGM), in the experimental phase a suitable and efficient level of protection of the environment and the biological diversity is guaranteed, as well as of the health animal, fishery vegetable and, with respect to the adverse effects that could cause the taking of steps with organisms genetically modified with few or without suitable containment measures. In the experimental phase a deep planning becomes of the investigation to carry out to answer referring crucial questions the liberation to the atmosphere of Organisms Genetically Modified (OGM?s) that cannot be solved with the existing information. During a specific year of evaluation they are possible to be had, by authorized region, ?n? repetitions of the experiments, which provides results to us on the behavior of the OGM?s, but only in that atmosphere. As it is of the public knowledge, the agricultural cycles vary from a year to another one by diverse q
 uestions, like the climate or the humidity, for example, that makes the conditions for the appearance favorable or adverse or not of plagues or weeds, it is for that reason that the technicians consider that to have convincing data of the behavior of a OGM it is necessary to count on a greater period of evaluation or experimentation (with the same receiving organism, same area of liberation and same OGM, according to case by case defined in the LBOGM). If the experiment repeats several cycles can be obtained reliable results with respect to the productivity, effectiveness and resistance to plagues and diseases of the OGM in study, but most important it is than it will provide elements to know the risks with its respective handling and mitigation. The successfully obtained scientific information in the experimental stage will serve as consumption so that the competent authority decides the convenience of cancelling or of allowing that the biotechnological culture happens to t
 he following stage. In order to advance to the pilot stage, it is considered necessary to count on more information of field, since a single experiment - by that is carried out it does not contribute conclusive data very well to advance to the pilot stage. This is especially excellent for being Mexico center of origin and an important genetic diversity of the maize. By all means that a fundamental subject for the Mexican Government is to elevate the competitiveness and productivity of the field and, without place to doubt, there is opening for the use of new technologies to obtain it; however, the main interest is to guarantee that risk for the agro-alimentary inventory of the country does not exist, for which take all the pertinent precautions. It is for that reason that all the resolutions of the Federal Government are based on scientific criteria, and they are taken with impartiality with base in the faculties that the Law of Bio-security of Organisms Genetically Modified
  and its Regulation confer to each one of the competent dependencies for the subject of the OGM?s. From the above, we make a call to the interested ones and the society generally discuss and assume the subject with base in technical and scientific evidences, always thinking about the communal property.



                                  PART 3

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

TITLE:   GREENPEACE: MEXICO SHOULD CONTROL CORN SEED DELIVERY AFTER FREEZE

SOURCE:  Fox News Latino, USA

AUTHOR:  EFE, Spain

URL:     http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/money/2011/02/18/greenpeace-mexico-control-corn-seed-delivery-freeze/

DATE:    18.02.2011

SUMMARY: "Greenpeace urged the Mexican government to take charge of distributing white corn seeds in northern Mexico after a rare winter freeze, as opposed to leaving the process up to multinational agribusiness corporations. [...] the departments supervising the response to the freeze [...] also must ensure that the replanting seed ?is not contaminated with GMOs.? ?And of course never consider the possibility of allowing the planting of GMOs (in the affected area): firstly, because that would be in violation of the law, and secondly, due to the risk to biodiversity and the food supply,?"

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GREENPEACE: MEXICO SHOULD CONTROL CORN SEED DELIVERY AFTER FREEZE

Mexico City ? Greenpeace urged the Mexican government to take charge of distributing white corn seeds in northern Mexico after a rare winter freeze, as opposed to leaving the process up to multinational agribusiness corporations.

?It?s up to the Mexican government to control the matter (distributing seeds for the replanting of white corn),? the coordinator of the non-governmental environmental organization?s Sustainable Agriculture and Genetically Modified Organisms Campaign, Aleira Lara, told Efe.

Lara said the departments supervising the response to the freeze that destroyed 300,000 hectares (1,160 sq. miles) of field corn in northern Mexico, particularly in Sinaloa state, also must ensure that the replanting seed ?is not contaminated with GMOs.?

?And of course never consider the possibility of allowing the planting of GMOs (in the affected area): firstly, because that would be in violation of the law, and secondly, due to the risk to biodiversity and the food supply,? she added.

According to Greenpeace, GM crops are designed to withstand the spraying of certain pesticides that are manufactured by the same multinationals that sell the crops.

The NGO says that, once released into the environment, GMOs can interbreed with natural organisms and contaminate non-genetically engineered environments and future generations of plants in uncontrolled and unforeseeable ways.

Mexico is currently facing a shortage of seeds, forcing it to import them from South America, Lara said.

She therefore recommended that the government provide the necessary support for new corn fields and promote research at public agricultural institutes ?to bolster the use of native seeds? in the future.

The activist noted that genetically modified yellow corn crops already can be found in several northern Mexican states in an initial controlled experimentation phase, but she said these products still cannot be sold in Mexico.

These test fields are located in Sinaloa, Sonora, Tamaulipas, Chihuahua, Durango and Coahuila and are being grown by multinational agricultural firms Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont?s Pioneer Hi-Bred unit and Dow Chemical?s Dow AgroSciences.

The future objective of the large agribusiness multinationals ?is to sell genetically modified corn. Not allowing them to do so already represents losses for them,? Lara added.

Greenpeace said in a country such as Mexico, the birthplace of corn and home to nearly 60 different native maize varieties and ?thousands of adapted varieties,? planting GMOs is very dangerous because of the potential for crossbreeding with native corn.

According to Lara, natural strains of corn can never be allowed to coexist with genetically modified varieties due to the risk of contamination.

Mexico produced around 24 million tons of white corn in 2010 - primarily for human consumption - but it also annually imports 10 million tons of yellow corn, most of it genetically modified, for livestock feed.

Corn tortillas are a dietary staple for millions of people in Mexico.