Monsanto has been pushing to get their GM corn into Mexico since 2008, and there have been quite a few test plantings in Mexico already. So, what’s going on now with GMOs in Mexico?
Back in 2011, Mexico experienced a severe cold snap and drought that devastated corn crops. Monsanto used the corn shortage to start a high-pressure PR campaign for their GM corn that spring. Meanwhile, some scientists are arguing that the GM corn isn’t drought resistant The folks at Foreign Policy in Focus commented on this push back in April 2011:
As the food crisis looms, the real danger – for the nourishment, health and culture of the country – is in choosing the Monsanto agenda over strengthening national agriculture. The cultivation of transgenics will accelerate the loss of Mexico’s food sovereignty and contaminate vital native strains of corn.
Unfortunately, Monsanto’s PR campaign seems to have worked, and that spring (April 2011) Mexico greenlit plantings of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready corn in Mexico. Commercial planting of Monsanto’s corn began in February of this year (2012).
Think of Mexico as the birthplace of corn. It’s where the ancient crop was first cultivated, and Mexico has dozens of variety of corn. As with other GM crops, there’s the danger of cross-contamination to consider. According to GM Watch:
…even the small quantity of experimental transgenic corn that was grown under controlled conditions in the north may have spread as far as the southern state of Oaxaca.
Right now, Monsanto’s corn is growing only in a couple of arid regions in Mexico, but given the threat of cross-contamination even these limited planting threaten biodiversity there. Not only is monocropping bad for the soil, but as we’ve seen over and over, these GM crops breed superweeds, which means farmers spray more and more pesticides to keep weeds at bay. .
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo from mattdente.