In February of this year, the Mexican government chose to ban the use of glyphosate, a herbicide the WHO warns is a “probable carcinogen”, as well as the cultivation and importation of GM corn. This decision was made despite immense pressure from American industry leaders and government officials who lobbied furiously against these policy changes.
Glyphosate is the active herbicidal ingredient in Roundup, the most widely used herbicide in the United States, which was originally produced by American agrochemical giant Monsanto and was purchased by pharmaceutical giant, Bayer. It has been shown to have serious, harmful effects on both human health and ecosystems. This policy change signals Mexico’s willingness to put the well-being of their citizens and environment before the interests of mega corporations.
The ban of GM corn is also in defiance of American industry lobbyists. Imports of corn to Mexico from the USA have increased by 400% since the enactment of NAFTA in 1994. The U.S. industry leaders who have benefitted from these sales have made a concerted effort to continue them, despite the threat GM corn poses to Mexico’s native corn species and local farmers. But regardless of this pressure campaign by American industry lobbyists, the Mexican government chose to protect the interests of its people. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s decree states:
“[W]ith the objective of achieving self-sufficiency and food sovereignty, our country must be oriented towards establishing sustainable and culturally adequate agricultural production, through the use of agroecological practices and inputs that are safe for human health, the country’s biocultural diversity and the environment, as well as congruent with the agricultural traditions of Mexico.”
We are heartened by this decision and hope to see other governments defy pressure from major corporations in order to protect the environment and their people.
Read more here: https://www.iatp.org/blog/202102/mexico-ban-glyphosate-gm-corn
Photo from Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy