USA- A recent US Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service (ERS) report reveals that close to 55% of the total harvested cropland in the United States was grown with varieties having at least one genetically modified trait in 2020.
Corn, soybeans, and cotton dominate the area planted with GM crops, which were adopted widely by US farmers in the 1990s.
According to the ERS, when lesser-known GM crops such as canola, potatoes, sugar beets, and apples are counted, about 55% of US cropland was planted to GM varieties by 2020.
In addition, USDA’s Acreage report indicates that biotech varieties were planted this year on 93% of corn, 97% of soybean, and 95% of cotton acres.
The USDA estimates 92.99 million acres of corn, 82.6 million acres of soybeans, and 9.56 million acres of cotton in 2023.
Moreover, GM varieties are beginning to spread in alfalfa and on a small commercial scale in potato, papaya, squash, and apples.
Scientists provide that the most common GM traits are herbicide tolerance and insect resistance, which reduce losses during production and, therefore, improve the yield of these crops.
Nevertheless, wheat, rice, barley, oats, sorghum, peanuts, sunflower, flax, beans, sugarcane, potatoes, vegetables, fruit, and nuts are primarily grown using conventional or non-GM planting material.
Mexico sticks to GM corn ban decree
Meanwhile, Mexican economy minister Raquel Buenrostro says that Mexico won’t make further changes to its decree on genetically modified (GM) corn ahead of a dispute settlement panel requested by the United States through the USMCA trade pact.
According to a report by Reuters, Buenrostro’s comments come after the United States last week escalated its objections to the restrictions imposed by Mexico on imports of GM corn and requested a dispute settlement panel under the North American trade pact, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
In mid-February, Mexico modified an end-2020 ban on GM corn, issuing a decree to allow its use in animal feed and the making of consumer products like cosmetics, textiles, and paper.
The new decree maintained a ban on GM corn for human consumption, specifically in the use of flour for tortillas, which are a staple of the Mexican diet.
Tortillas in Mexico use non-transgenic white corn, in which Mexico is self-sufficient, but the country imports corn worth around US$5 billion annually from the United States, most of it yellow GM grain for livestock feed.
The USMCA panel was announced after the failure of formal consultations to resolve deep differences between the two trading partners over GM corn.
Washington says Mexico’s decree banning imports of GM corn used for tortillas is not based on science and violates its commitments under the USMCA, which has been in place since 2020.
Mexico’s policy, however, is based on science, and what the U.S. says has “no foundation,” Buenrostro said.
Mexico has invited its trading partner to work together on scientific research on the health impact of GM corn, but the U.S. has refused, according to Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and other Mexican officials.