In two previous posts, we looked at the contentious debate surrounding the introduction of GM corn to Mexico.
Now, Mexico’s Agriculture Secretariat has approved a pilot program by Monsanto to sow up to 1 hectare (2.47 acres) in the northern state of Tamaulipas with GM corn. Only a few months ago, Monsanto, the giant, global biotech seed company, had been refused permission for this project.
Tamaulipas farmers had campaigned to be allowed to try the GM seed on the grounds that it was the only way they could be competitive with corn farmers north of the border. US farmers have found that GM corn lives up to its advertised higher yields and disease resistance, though many Mexican farmers, especially those in the south of the country, are vehemently opposed to GM corn on the basis that cross-contamination would deplete the plants’ gene pool, and possibly lead to the eventual extinction of traditional corn varieties.
The introduction of GM corn is likely to hasten the demise, or at least the ready availability, of many distinctive native varieties, including some with multi-colored kernels and, my particular favorite, blue corn, which makes (IMO) the most delectable tortillas imaginable.