Mexico’s Supreme Court ratifies glyphosate and GMO corn ban

15 Oct 2021 | Juan Pedro Tomas

Mexico’s Supreme Court unanimously denied four appeals filed against the judicial decision to ban the sowing of genetically-modified corn and a controversial herbicide in the country, according to Mexican press reports.

The court denied the challenges presented by a raft of agriculture seed heavyweights, including Bayer-Monsanto, Syngenta, PHI and Dow.

The four companies had called for a suspension of a precautionary measure that prevents the use of GMO corn in the country, and had mounted dozens of legal challenges over several years appealing the decision.

A presdential decree, which was published in the Official Gazette of the Federation on December 31, 2020, bans the use of glyphosate, the official name of a Bayer-produced herbicide, along with imports of GMO corn from January 2024.

The ban will negatively impact farmers’ profitability as glyphosate is a herbicide that allows farmers to reduce costs, Abel Rodriguez Montejo, an analyst with local consultancy firm Grupo Consultor de Mercados Agricolas (GCMA) told Agricensus.

“Once this product is banned, farmers will have less profitability and corn production could also be negatively impacted as the glyphosate does not have a substitute product,” he said, while also warning that the GMO ban is likely to be difficult to manage.

“The prohibition of imports of GMO corn will have a negative impact as Mexico mostly imports yellow corn from the US, which is mostly GMO corn. This year, we will import 17.8 million mt of corn, of which 1 million will be white corn and the rest will be yellow corn from the US and, in a small proportion from Brazil,” the analyst said.

Mexico has already imported a total of 11.8 million mt of corn in the first eight months of the year, some 66.3% of full 2021 forecast.

According to the GCMA statistics, Mexico imported 10.73 million mt of yellow corn from the US, a 9.4% increase compared to imports of 9.81 million mt in the same period last year.

The country is largely self-sufficient in white corn but depends on imports of mostly GMO yellow corn from the US for livestock feed.

GCMA had also estimated that the overall corn production in Mexico this year will reach 27.5 million mt.