Gradual Replacement of Glyphosate Advisable: GCMABy Jan Hogewoning | Thu, 01/14/2021 - 13:19
Last week, MBN reported on the decree, made official by President Lopez Obrador, that aims to ban glyphosate and transgenic corn in Mexico by January 2024. This bold move has been received with both praise and criticism from different groups. Now, analysts from Grupo Consultor de Mercados Agricolas (GCMA) have stated that the three-year period may be too short to implement the ban, La Jornada writes. They warn that doing so in such a short period could have a significant impact on agricultural production and returns.
Concern for Corn Shortages
“We trust that it only refers to the planting of genetically modified corn and not its import, otherwise it would be catastrophic for the national economy, livestock, industrial and consumer sectors,” the group warned. The decree has been subject of some confusion in terms of the extent of its application. It is still unclear whether corn imports will be included in the ban and if this will also apply to corn that is for human consumption or for that used for livestock feeding. MBN reported last week that Mexico is very dependent on the import of yellow corn from the US. However, the majority of this corn is genetically modified. GCMA projects that to compensate for the ban on national transgenic corn production, Mexico would need to import approximately 17 million tons of corn from the US.
Glyphosate: Controversial but Important for Production
The glyphosate herbicide has been subject to a lot of controversy over recent years with respect to its alleged negative impact on human health and the environment.
GCMA recognizes the controversy around the product and says that its replacement is desirable. However, it also says that it is necessary to analyze substitution alternatives and their effects on agricultural production in terms of access, costs and results. The organization recommends that the government involves agrochemical suppliers in Mexico in this process. This way, in the shortest possible time, suitable substitutes for glyphosate can be found. The government should also structure programs that aim for the gradual replacement of the herbicide to minimize the impact on production costs and profitability, GCMA recommends. The agency’s recommendations echo those of former Vice Minister of Agriculture, Miguel Garcia Winder. In an interview with MBN, he recommended that the sector focuses on innovation to develop better alternatives to today’s agrochemicals. He also stated however, that the current agricultural production system was quasi-dependent on agrochemicals.
Last week, the Association for Protection of Crops, Science and Technology, warned that the ban on glyphosate use in the Mexican countryside could deal a hard blow to production. It says it would cause a decrease of up to 40 percent in the production of corn and beans. Other crops, such as chili, tomato, citrus and coffee, would also be impacted.