In 2024, genetically modified (GM) corn use in Mexico will be banned, as per a presidential decree. This measure, quite unpopular within the industry – mainly feed manufacturing and starch – is full of misinformation and unscientifically proven facts and is paired with uncertainties on how this will be applied.

Mexico is the world cradle of corn. Together with chocolate and other goodies, it changed the world after the Spanish conquest. But, after milestones such as the Green Revolution, nothing really outstanding has happened down here in agriculture. As of late, the country has been becoming highly dependent on cereal grain imports. Corn production has very low yields per hectare, and there is a lack of arable land, water resources, fertilizers, transportation, storage infrastructure and so on.

It would have been nice to have developed a self-sustaining system that would have included a long-term research strategy aimed to increase corn production in the land of this cereal grain. But it certainly did not happen.

Mexico produces enough white corn to sustain tortilla production for the 130 million Mexicans. Supposedly, the decree is aimed at human consumption. However, many uncertainties float around with respect to animal consumption of GM yellow corn, mainly imported from the U.S. Imports of this corn are not specified in the decree, but neither is authorization to specifically use yellow corn.

The thing is that if the worst nightmares come true, no supplier − the U.S., Brazil or Argentina − will be able to provide non-GM corn to Mexico. Although, Ukraine might be able to. It is not exactly the best timing for this because it will force feed manufacturers to stop producing enough feed for food-producing animals. Ultimately, this will lead to the need to import meat, eggs and milk from other countries. And guess what? Animal proteins are produced with GM corn!

Lastly, to get a thorough analysis of the impact, I highly recommend reading the report entitled “Consumer Price Impacts of Mexican Restrictions on GM Corn: An Economic Analysis” developed by World Perspectives, Inc. for an Ad Hoc Coalition of Food & Agriculture Groups in Mexico, and the U.S. The report is available in English and Spanish.

What do you think?