contaminated with GM maize, according to tests carried out by
students at the state Autonomous Metropolitan University.
"We swapped seeds and decided to do some tests. Now we are more careful when exchanging, and over who participates in the fair, although we still have to carry out confirmation tests," activist Sara Lopez, of the Red Origen Volcanes (Volcanoes Origins Network), an association of small farmers that has been organising producers' fairs since 2010, told IPS.
Environmental, scientific and small farmers' organisations have discovered GM contamination of native maize in Chihuahua, Hidalgo, Puebla and Oaxaca.
Contamination is "a carefully and perversely planned strategy," according to Camila Montecinos, from the Chile office of , an international NGO that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems.
Transnational food companies "chose maize, soy and canola because of their enormous potential for contamination (by wind- pollination)," said Montecinos, one of the experts participating in the preliminary hearing on transgenic contamination of native maize at the , an international opinion tribunal which opened its Mexican chapter in 2012 and will conclude with a non-binding ruling in 2014.
"When contamination spreads, the companies claim that the presence of transgenic crops must be recognised and legalised," in order to pave the way for marketing the GM seeds, to which they own the patents, she said.
Mexico's environment minister, Juan Guerra, has said that all available scientific information will be examined before a decision is made.
But that will not be easy. The National Confederation of Campesinos (Small Farmers), one of the main internal movements in the ruling PRI, has had an agreement with Monsanto since 2007 under which the company is to "conserve" native varieties.
Meanwhile, the Pena Nieto government still has not approved regulations for the format and contents of reports on the results of releasing GM organisms, and the possible threats to the environment, biodiversity, and the health of animals, plants and fish.
"For 18 years, corporations have been unsuccessful in convincing the people that their products are good. Maize is being used as a means of political and economic control. People need maize to be alive," the ETC Group's Mooney said.
The transgenic seeds on the market are herbicide-resistant Roundup Ready and Bt (for the Bacillus thuringiensis gene they carry for pest resistance) versions of cotton, maize, soy and canola. While they are legally grown in Canada, the United States, Argentina, Brazil and Spain, they are banned for example in China, Russia and the majority of the EU countries.
Recent studies published in the United States show that transgenic crops do not significantly increase yield per hectare, do not reduce herbicide use, and do not increase resistance to pests, in contrast to biotech industry claims.
"We are analysing what legal action to take against the new applications (to plant GM maize)," said Robles, of the Maize Defence Network.
(c) NoticiasFinancieras - Inter Press Services - All rights reserved
Copyright (c) 2013 IPS
(c) 2013 IPS - Inter Press Service. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.
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