GM maize in México: An irreversible path away from agricultural biodiversity, farmer livelihoods and the right to food within the center of origin of maize

Recommendations and requests – a call to action
A pro-forma public consultation period in México of requests for commercial-scale planting of GM maize has just finished as the last procedural hurdle on the path to approval, despite all previous efforts to convey. We conclude that the potential impacts threaten the right to maize as a vital food. Furthermore, given the biological irreversibility at hand, we therefore strongly insist and urge the Mexican authorities to implement the activities specified below, in order to create necessary broader dialogue and a collective re-think of the wisdom of large-scale release of genetically modified (GM) maize into the epicenter of maize agricultural biodiversity.

We urge the Mexican government to:

  • Take into consideration the work of 235 experts from 70 institutions coordinated by the Mexican biodiversity commission (CONABIO) that designates Mexico as the center of maize diversity containing the centers of origin and domestication.
  • Amend the Regulations of the Mexican Biosafety Law, so that the Special Protection Regime for centers of crop origin and diversity, particularly for maize, is enforced.
  • Stop the processing of any application for open-field release of GM corn in México.
  • Reject permits for commercial planting of transgenic maize and cancel all existing permits for “pilot scale” and “experimental scale” releases of GM maize into the environment on the basis of the scientific evidence documenting the extent of transgene flow and the center of origin and diversity of maize in the entirety of the Mexican territory.
  • Begin an immediate transparent and open peer-review of the environmental and social aspects of GM maize cultivation in México, based on thorough scientific criteria and public engagement, utilizing a set of criteria and standards that are scientifically, socially and environmentally acceptable. Such a process should consider the alternative options to address issues of food production in México and include representatives of peasant and indigenous maize production of communities throughout México, whose livelihoods may be impacted by the introduction of GM maize in the country.
  • Conduct a thorough and transparent review and public consultation of the acceptability of the existing policies surrounding GM maize agriculture in Mexico.