Mexico approves GM maize pilot project

Mar 09, 2011
Mexico has approved its first pilot project to grow genetically-modified (GM) maize, a move expected to draw fire from environmental groups who fear its impact on treasured local corn.

Mexico has approved its first pilot project to grow genetically-modified (GM) maize, a move expected to draw fire from environmental groups who fear its impact on treasured local corn.

The Agriculture Ministry said in a statement Tuesday that it had approved the project to grow GM yellow corn developed by the US biotech giant Monsanto on one hectare (2.5 acres) of land in the northern Tamaulipas state.

"It is the first permit to be issued for the pilot phase," the ministry said, adding that it had rejected three other similar requests.

The government has granted 67 permits for projects to grow genetically modified corn at the experimental stage, prior to the pilot stage, on more than 70 hectares (173 acres) of land in the north of the country since 2009.

The ministry said the pilot project would allow it to evaluate the costs and benefits of the technology under conditions of strict bio-security.

Greenpeace and other environmental groups have protested such projects, saying they open the door to the widespread planting of crops that could contaminate or drive out local varieties of corn.

Many here are sensitive about meddling with maize, the cultivation of which dates back to pre-Hispanic times, when mythologies held that people were created from corn.

Some fear Mexico could one day lose the wealth of native varieties it still produces, including red and blue, to the tough breeds of , threatening the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of subsistence farmers.

Mexico is the number one producer of white maize, which is used to make its famous flat tortillas, but it imports increasing amounts of yellow maize from the United States, mainly for cattle feed.

The tests are part of efforts to help the country return to maize self-sufficiency and keep food prices down.

, also including soya and cotton, are highly controversial, with critics underlining potential risks to health and the environment.

Explore further: Scientists tap trees' evolutionary databanks to discover environment adaptation strategies

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

GMO maize strain safe: EU food agency

Jun 30, 2009

A genetically modified strain of maize, banned in some EU countries, poses no risk to health or the environment, the European Food Safety Authority declared Tuesday.

Some GM crops legal in the U.K.

Aug 08, 2005

Genetically modified crops can reportedly be grown in Britain without farmers having to notify the government or their neighbors, the Guardian reported Monday.

A foamy drink and the future of food

May 21, 2008

Michael Pollan’s recent bestseller The Omnivore’s Dilemma revealed to millions of readers the centrality, and dangers, of commodity corn in the modern industrialized agriculture system as developed in ...

If corn is biofuels king, tropical maize may be emperor

Oct 16, 2007

When University of Illinois crop scientist Fred Below began growing tropical maize, the form of corn grown in the tropics, he was looking for novel genes for the utilization of nitrogen fertilizer and was hoping to discover ...

Recommended for you

Keep dogs and cats safe during winter

Dec 27, 2014

(HealthDay)—Winter can be tough on dogs and cats, but there are a number of safe and effective ways you can help them get through the cold season, an expert says.

Scientists target mess from Christmas tree needles

Dec 26, 2014

The presents are unwrapped. The children's shrieks of delight are just a memory. Now it's time for another Yuletide tradition: cleaning up the needles that are falling off your Christmas tree.

Top Japan lab dismisses ground-breaking stem cell study

Dec 26, 2014

Japan's top research institute on Friday hammered the final nail in the coffin of what was once billed as a ground-breaking stem cell study, dismissing it as flawed and saying the work could have been fabricated.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.