Figures from Coneval show that during January the basic food basket in rural and urban areas registered an increase of 11 percent.
This 2023 began with a year-on-year inflation rate of 7.91 percent, the highest level for a January since 2001.
Mexico is the main importer of US corn.
On February 13, the Mexican government published a decree in the Official Gazette of the Federation, with which prohibits the cultivation of transgenic corn. This decree reinforces the one from two years ago, when at the end of 2020 the Mexican government approved a decree to protect native corn and the health of the population against agrochemicals, such as glyphosate. Prohibiting the use of transgenic corn for human consumption, as well as seeking the gradual end of its use for fodder and industry.
With this decision many questions arise: Is transgenic corn harmful? How are other products affected? How is it related to the subject of the free trade agreement between Mexico, the United States and Canada?
GMOs are products that already exist and that they have simply suffered alterations in their original genetic information through biotechnological methods in order to make them more nutritious or more resistant.
In an interview for Merca 2.0, Alejandro Luna, a partner at Santamarina + Steta, explained that he corn yellow it is not consumed to nixtamalize“we do not consume it as a tortilla, the corn yellow has served in Mexico for fodder, to feed the animals. It has not been possible to prove that whoever eats the meat of those little animals that ate corn transgenic causes harm, and if the corn transgenic in agro-industrial processes, it is an intermediate product so that on that basis you can produce other products that we do eat, but neither has it been proven that this causes harm”.
For its part, the National Agricultural Council has warned about the difficulty of substituting US yellow corn, since there would not be enough raw material to feed the animals.
According to government data, in 2019 the production of fodder corn at the national level was 15 million tons, which generated a figure above 10 million pesos. Being Jalisco, Durango and Zacatecas the main producing states of fodder corn.
The decree on the prohibition of the use of transgenic corn puts various national productive sectors at risk, since it will be inevitable that increase the price of food. For example, yellow corn is used in the livestock sector as feed for cattle, pigs, and poultry, but if it suffers a price increase, its derivatives would automatically become more expensive, such as milk, meat, and eggs, foods that would leave to be accessible to millions of Mexicans.
Alejandro Luna, partner of Santamarina + Steta, pointed out “imports of yellow corn allow us to cover a need in the agribusiness market that Mexico alone could not compensate, today, it does not have enough production to cover that need.” .
For her part, Enriqueta Molina, also a member of Santamarina + Steta, reiterated that we cannot forget that Mexico imports corn but also exports meat, “it is one of the few industries where Mexico does not export raw materials but rather imports raw materials and export added value. Those are the opportunities that we are reducing.”
Mexico and the United States, the corn war
The United States began the process of technical consultations with Mexico regarding the restrictions on transgenic corn, since for them this decision cuts off bilateral trade in yellow corn and with it the T-MEC agreements. At the same time that the United States trade representative, Katherine Tai, through a statement warned that the measures threaten to curb agricultural trade.
“Mexico’s policies threaten to disrupt billions of dollars in agricultural trade. They will stifle the innovation that is needed to tackle the climate crisis and food security challenges if they are not addressed,” Katherine Tai, US Trade Representative.
Via Twitter The Ministry of Economy assured that demonstrate with evidence that the decree will not affect bilateral trade. According to data from the Ministry of Economy, Mexico produces 27 million tons of corn, of which 13 million tons are used for masa and tortillas.
In other countries such as France and Germany, the cultivation of transgenic corn is prohibited due to the damage to human health and the impact on the environment.
And although the theory that the corn Transgenic is not favorable for health, it is not yet supported by scientific studies, it is an issue that does not stop sowing doubts and that puts trade agreements at stake and puts various national productive sectors at risk.