MEXICO CITY (Reuters) — The Mexican government’s plan to stop importing genetically modified corn and using glyphosate will likely face legal challenges this month to reverse the proposal, according to the new head of Mexico’s top farm lobby.
Juan Cortina, president of Mexico’s Farm Council, said he thinks the lawsuits are needed to get the government to back down.
“Unfortunately, I think there will need to be legal challenges brought by all the people who use glyphosate and genetically modified corn,” said Cortina, adding he also expects U.S. exporters to appeal to provisions of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement to declare the measures illegal.
Late last year, the Mexican government published a decree banning the use of both GM corn and glyphosate over the next three years, arguing both present health risks and that boosting traditional corn supplies domestically should be prioritized.
The vaguely worded decree has generated across-the-board industry opposition plus frenzied lobbying efforts aimed at urging officials to reconsider.
Cortina said Mexico’s agricultural sector grew by about two percent last year despite the economic slump caused by the corona virus pandemic, even as the rest of the economy contracted sharply.
Mexico’s booming livestock sector could face a loss of competitiveness under the ban because of its heavy dependence on annual imports of 17 million tonnes of yellow corn, which is used to fatten cows, pigs and chickens. Nearly all of it is supplied from U.S. farmers who almost exclusively grow GM varieties.
Cortina said the government must present alternatives and that farmers would welcome them if they were price-competitive and equally effective.
The CNA estimates that Mexico’s livestock sector accounts for about 40 percent of the country’s farm economy, worth about $24 billion last year.