On September 20, 2022, the Congress of the State of Mexico approved the Law for the Promotion and Protection of Local Corn Varieties, which prohibits the use of transgenic corn.
The law was published in the Official Journal of the Federation on October 6, 2022.
In addition to declaring local corn varieties as a cultural heritage food of the State of Mexico, the law seeks to keep the State free of transgenic (GE) corn, calls for the use of the precautionary principle and approves a budget to support GE-free local corn varieties.
According to a state congressional deputy, the new law supports President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s goal of supporting the Mexican countryside by banning GE corn and promoting food self-sufficiency.
The law was initiated by members of the Morena party, President López Obrador’s political party, and debated in two legislative commissions, the Agricultural and Forestry Development Commission and the Environmental Protection and Climate Change Commission.
The bill was also unanimously approved by the full State Congress.
The State of Mexico is the most populated state in Mexico, with a population of 17 million (2020) or 13% of the country’s population.
The state is home to important transportation hubs and arteries, such as airports, railroads and major highways.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the state’s corn production was valued at $600 million in 2021, representing 7% of Mexico‘s total corn production.
The state produces turkeys and sheep; the state’s turkey production accounts for approximately 15% of total national turkey production and sheep production contributes 16% of national sheep production.
Another bill initiative
USDA refers that during 2016 and 2017, the local Congress of the State of Yucatan attempted to pass a similar law to protect local corn varieties in that state, which included some restrictions on the transportation and consumption of GM corn in Yucatan.
However, Yucatan’s proposed law was challenged before the Mexican Supreme Court of Justice on the grounds that it violated several laws (i.e., the Federal Biosafety Law; the Free Transit Laws under the Communications and Transportation Law; and the Mexican Constitution).
As a result, the legislative proposal of the State of Yucatan was modified to allow the free transit of GM corn.
Mexico is highly dependent on corn imports for its livestock sector.
Mexico imported 15.6 million metric tons of corn from the United States in 2021 with a value of US$4.7 billion, and more than 9 million tons during the first half of 2022.