MEXICO – Mexico has scrapped a deadline to ban genetically modified corn for animal feed and industrial use amid trade tensions with the United States but retained plans to prohibit the use of the grain for human consumption.
According to a statement by the Economy Ministry, the move, approved in a government decree, eliminates January 2024 as the date for the country to forbid GM corn but retains the use of the herbicide glyphosate which was part of the ban.
The announcement follows an original decree issued by Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in 2020 that sought to phase out imports of GM corn and glyphosate by January 2024 putting Mexico and the US at loggerheads.
In November 2022, US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack threatened to take action under the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) over the potential disruption of the corn trade.
The change provides some relief to U.S. farmers, given that most corn exports to Mexico are of the yellow variety, primarily used as livestock feed.
Mexico is the U.S.’s second-largest export market, buying about 17 million tonnes of mostly GM yellow corn from annually.
However, Mexico said it still plans to revoke and refrain from granting new authorizations for GM corn for human consumption, which the decree defined as flour, dough, or tortilla made from the grain. Mexico grows its white corn used for tortillas and other dishes
Before the decision was reached, Doug McKalip, the new U.S. agriculture trade chief had recently told Reuters that he had given Mexico until February 14 to respond to a request to explain the science behind Mexico’s planned bans.
Meanwhile, in Pakistan, a recent ban on GM soybeans is forecast to impact imports, a new report by the United States Department of Agriculture has revealed.
According to USDA projections Pakistan’s soybean imports will decline to 1.2 million tonnes, more than half of last year’s total of 2.5 million tonnes.
In addition, the 2022-23 import forecast for rapeseed also was revised downward to 500,000 tonnes from 950,000 tonnes in 2021-22.
The ban is having a negative impact on the country’s poultry sector as the country lacks sufficient domestic production of plant protein to replace the 2 million to 2.5 million tonnes of soybean typically imported.
“Almost all the meal derived from soybean imports is used for poultry feed. Due to the de-facto ban on soybean imports, crushing activity has collapsed, meal supplies are short, and poultry feed is scarce.”
As a result, Pakistan’s Bureau of Statistics reports that, in January, chicken meat prices increased 25% compared to the previous month and were 83% higher on an annual basis