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Mexico seeks legal reform to protect native corn ahead of USMCA agreement

By Dumont - 11/10/2019
Mexico seeks legal reform to protect native corn ahead of USMCA agreement

On September 24, 2019, the Senate of Mexico approved a draft of the Federal Law for the Promotion and Protection of Native Corn. The law looks to prohibit the registration of patents related to genetically modified corn, with the purpose of preserving 65 native varieties of corn from biotech companies attempts to commercialize on it.

Government members have urged for the approval of the law before the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA or T-MEC, as the agreement is known in Mexico) is ratified, as it includes provisions that could allow agribusiness corporations to patent Mexico’s native corn varieties and challenge the country’s ban on genetically modified corn cultivation.
“We need to have protection of our native corn”, said Víctor Suárez Carrera, undersecretary for food self-sufficiency at the Secretariat of Agriculture and Rural Development.

A 2017 article from United Nations specialized agency Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), stated that researchers from Chapingo Autonomous University in Mexico have proposed alternatives for sustainable development in order for small and medium indigenous producers to preserve their roots, including the creation of a National Seed System, which would include corn. Over 7 million hectares are currently cultivated in the country, yielding more than 20 million tons of corn.  

By Dumont - 11/10/2019
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