Skip to content

Montanto v Mexico… Montsanto wins

30 April 2007

I can’t say it’s a complot, but I don’t think the corn shortage and subsequent jump in tortilla prices earlier this year were unrelated to the push to sell GM corn in Mexico, and to force Mexican farmers to become dependent on foreign agribusiness corporations.

Mexican farmers have signed an agreement with biotechnology giant Monsanto to buy and plant genetically modified (GM) maize.

According to the agreement signed earlier this month (18 April) by Mexico’s National Confederation of Corn Growers (CNPAMM) ― affiliated with the umbrella agricultural association National Campesino Confederation ― Monsanto will provide Mexican producers with GM seeds, as well as initiate activities to protect native maize, including setting up a maize germplasm bank.

Many environmental and indigenous groups oppose the introduction of GM plants, fearing that it may contaminate native varieties of maize in the country.

Maize originated in Mexico and is home to 3,500 native varieties. It is the main food crop in Mexico, its production employing almost 12 million people.

Mexico has found alternatives for some GM crops until now (like rice) but the interconnections between U.S. corporate interests and a Latin American market are too strong to assume political pressure wasn’t involved. 

Expect further decline in Mexican agriculture, and growth in “alternative economic activities” (i.e. narcotics) as small farmers, who will be unable to keep GM corn out of their fields, or pay the higher prices necessary for cultivation turn to other ways of making a living. 

4 Comments leave one →
  1. el_longhorn permalink
    1 May 2007 12:34 pm

    I see you have acquired the Mexican knack for seeing conspiracies in all government actions! Not unjustified, I might add, but always taken to an extreme in Mexico.

    On the price of corn – NAFTA floods the Mexican market with cheap corn, thus lowering prices and driving small farmers off their land…NAFTA bad. Now, corn prices are high…and this is bad for corn farmers? Bad for consumers, yes. But it has to be good for corn farmers. Generally speaking, rising agricultural prices are good for the developing world, because a higher percentage of their populations are farmers.

  2. 1 May 2007 12:58 pm

    Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean there aren’t real enemies 🙂

    GM corn implies the farmers will have to buy round-up and other chemicals, on which the montsanto corn depends for survival. AND… if the GM corn cross-pollenates standing non-montsanto corn, Montsanto has gone to court to force the non-complaint farmer to pay license fees.

    What if the farmer finds the Montsanto corn isn’t suitable. What recourse does he have if he’s locked into a contract to buy these seeds? What if the seeds don’t germinate as expected?

    Can he sell THIS montsanto owned seed on the open market?

    The farmers in other countries found their incomes dropped using GM crops. Why should Mexico be any different?

  3. el_longhorn permalink
    1 May 2007 5:35 pm

    Paranoia has served me well, too. 😉

    I am vaguely familiar with the wheat case against the Canadian farmer, but don’t know enough about GM crops or agriculture in general to really comment. However, I do know that the Mexican small farmer is in trouble, for much the same reasons that small farms all over the world are in trouble…to be profitable in today’s world, farms have to be larger and mechanized. A 20 acre plot, a burro, and a plow are just not going to cut it anymore.

    I guess my point is that things need to change. The small Mexican farm has been declining for decades, and not doing anything means the decline will simply continue. I don’t know if this change is positive or not, but change is needed. And trying to match US agricultural subsidies peso to dollar is just not possible for the Mexican government.

Trackbacks

  1. This is the end, my friend. This is the end… « The Mex Files

Leave a reply, but please stick to the topic

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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