"Tests on Treasured Maize Ignite Fears in Mexico"

"MEXICO CITY -- As scientists race the clock to increase food production worldwide, new trials to plant genetically-modified maize have stoked anger in Mexico, the cradle of corn.

Many here are sensitive about meddling with maize, which dates back to pre-Hispanic times, when mythologies held that people were created from corn.

Some fear Mexico could one day lose the wealth of native varieties it still produces, including red and blue, to a few, tough breeds of GM maize, as well the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of subsistence farmers.

The government this month granted its first 22 permits to agribusinesses Monsanto, Dow AgroSciences and Pioneer to carry out tests on GM maize on farms in north and west Mexico.

Mexico is the number one producer of white maize, which is used to make its famous flat tortillas, but it imports increasing amounts of yellow maize from the United States, mainly for cattle feed."

AFP had the story October 29, 2009.

Friday, October 30, 2009