Skip to content

(Genetically Modififed) Corn-holing

14 February 2007

John Ross in Counterpunch:

Rodrigo had another theory: “the tortilla is Mexico but now they want us to eat white bread like the gringos.” Others see even more sinister motives behind the sudden spike in tortilla prices which the government of freshman president Felipe Calderon blames on short supply and high prices for white and yellow corn – the opening of the Mexican milpa or corn patch to genetically modified corn.

World corn prices are currently at an all-time high due to burgeoning interest in ethanol production as a petroleum substitute. In Mexico the price of corn has been pushed upwards by the cost of diesel and petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides despite the fact that Mexico is a major oil producer. Crop failures due to drought, flooding, and even ice storms have contributed to the price surge. But whatever the immediate causes, the dismantlement of government agricultural programs and the brutal impacts of the North American Free Trade Agreement have deepened the crisis in Mexican corn production.

Competing with highly subsidized U.S. farmers is driving their Mexican counterparts into bankruptcy. Whereas south of the border, guaranteed prices for farmers’ crops is a thing of the past, corporate corn growers north of the Rio Bravo can receive up to $21,000 an acre in subsidies from their government, enabling them to dump their corn over the border at 80% of cost. The impact of this inundation has been to force 6,000,000 farmers and their families here to abandon their plots and leap into the migration stream, according to a 2004 Carnegie Endowment study.

A great deal of the 36,000,000 tons of corn Mexico has imported from the U.S. in the past six years is genetically modified – 40% to 60% estimates the environmental group Greenpeace, reasoning that U.S. producers, barred from dealing GMO corn in Europe and Japan are using Mexico as a dumping ground for the grain.

GMO corn began pouring into Mexico in 1998 and by 2001 was being detected in the remote sierras of Oaxaca and Puebla, a region in which maize was first domesticated seven millenniums ago – both BT and Starlink strains (Monsanto and Novartis brands) were found in Oaxaca’s Sierra de Juarez in 2001 and 2002. 11 out of 22 corn-growing regions in the two states registered readings of contamination as high as 60% in a 2002 government study that was suppressed by the Secretary of Agriculture.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Texas John permalink
    16 November 2007 9:53 am

    “…force 6,000,000 farmers and their families here to abandon their plots and leap into the migration stream, …”

    Ummm,,isn’t that th “Illegal Immigration” stream?
    And whos forcing them? They are just taking the easy & lazy road instead of actually finding other options and working hard to make their goals happen, but hey, why work when you can crawl across the border like a criminal in the night and suck off the public tit of American society.

    If you are so pissed off about American goods,food and even money coming into your country there is a simple solution.
    QUIT asking us for handouts, bank bail-out money and other “Foreign Aid”, be appreciative of what you ask for and receive or shut the hell up. We can stop sending our corn & grains to Mexico and you can grow and eat your own crops,,ok?

    Finally, if you are so damn mad about the current situation in you country, do something about it,, make changes for the better instead of just running away from it.

  2. Dema Gog permalink
    6 May 2008 3:12 pm

    If you don’t want illegal immigrants, don’t mess with the economy of central American countries. Go to the root of the problem. As for “the easy and lazy road,” do you have any idea what you are talking about?

Leave a reply, but please stick to the topic

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: