Mexico under Pressure to Grow Transgenic Plants
Prensa Latina, Aug 20 2007 http://www.plenglish.com/article.asp?ID=%7B31459647-0C34-40A0-ADCC-7561D9110F3D%7D&language=EN
Mexico, Aug 20 (Prensa Latina) Mexico is being pressured by transnational companies to grow transgenic plants in its fertile land, a social leader denounced on Monday.
Miguel Luna, president of the Coalition of Urban and Farmer Democratic Organizations, said that Mexican farmers have to deal with impositions by rival companies in that sphere: Cargill and Monsanto.
They compete to rent agricultural land to grow genetically modified grains.
According to Luna, this is additional to the lifting of taxes on corn, beans, sugar and milk in 2008, within the framework of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
He added that transnational companies in Mexico focus on controlling the import, production and commercialization of seeds, chemicals, pesticides, veterinary items and, recently, the production and sales of transgenic plants.
The Mexican leader said that planting and consuming genetically modified grains could cause short-term effects on the ecosystem, including irreversible genetic contamination and the extermination of endemic and traditional varieties, among others.
It also causes allergies, resistance to antibiotics, and toxic effects in humans, he went on to say.
Economically speaking, it makes farmers dependent on transnational companies and promotes the strengthening of the monopolies that commercialize seeds and agricultural inputs.
Luna demanded that genetically modified food must be clearly identified and labeled for commercialization, and experiments with animals and plants for human consumption must comply with the law and ethics.
He added that the NAFTA does not bring either comparative or competitive advantages for Mexico over the United States and Canada regarding production of basic grains and oleaginous plants.
A total of 3.5 million Mexican producers devote 65 percent of agricultural land to those products, which contribute 40 percent of the value of sales.