05 July 2024

Good News South of the Border

Monsanto has withdrawn its efforts attempting to roll back Mexico's efforts to protect its maize supply and genome.

Any news that includes a loss by Monsanto is good news:

After a four-year legal battle on multiple fronts with Mexico’s AMLO government, Monsanto has finally thrown in the towel. Last Tuesday, Mexico’s National Council of Humanities, Sciences and Technologies (Conahcyt) announced that two Mexican divisions of Monsanto — now subsidiaries of German chemicals giant, Bayer, which in 2018 acquired Monsanto in arguably the worst ever corporate merger — had dropped their law suits against the Mexican government over its intention to ban genetically modified corn.

As readers may recall, Mexico’s outgoing President Andrés Manuel Lopéz Obrador signed a presidential decree in 2020 seeking to ban all use and importation of GMO corn and the toxic weedkiller, glyphosate. His government has also placed import restrictions on white corn, which is generally used for human consumption in Mexico. The reasons cited for doing so include protecting the health of the population, the environment and Mexico’s genetic diversity of maize.

But this is not just about biotech. It is about increasing Mexican food sovereignty by reducing the threat of unfair US competition in the global corn market. As even the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, an international affairs think tank, recently conceded, US corn has dominated Mexico over the past three decades for one main reason: thanks to NAFTA, the scales have been stacked in the favour of US growers:

And US agriculture has been stacked in favor of the big agribusinesses, who seem determined to foist things like glyophosate.

The US standard or requiring proof of harm, as opposed to proof of safety, is a bad thing, both for genetic diversity and public health.


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