Genetically-Enhanced Soybeans Approved for Commercial Use

A Lastest News about Cereals, Leguminous Crops, Oil Seeds in Mexico

Posted on: 28 Jun 2012

On June 6, 2012, the Government of Mexico (GOM) announced that it had approved genetically-enhanced (GE) soybeans for commercial use in Mexico for up to 253,500 hectares (ha).

THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT POLICY Voluntary Public - Date: 6/8/2012 GAIN Report Number: MX2035 Mexico Post: Mexico Genetically-Enhanced Soybeans Approved for Commercial Use Report Categories: Biotechnology - GE Plants and Animals Grain and Feed Planting Seeds Agricultural Situation Approved By: Dan Berman Prepared By: Adriana Otero & Benjamin Juarez Report Highlights: On June 6, 2012, the Government of Mexico (GOM) announced that it had approved genetically- enhanced (GE) soybeans for commercial use in Mexico for up to 253,500 hectares (ha). GE soybeans had only previously been planted under the experimental and pilot stages in Mexico (since 1995). The approval of GE soybeans for commercial use comes at a politically-sensitive time with upcoming presidential elections and at a time that anti-biotech groups have ramped up media attacks to block progress on this front. General Information: Mexico Approves Genetically-Enhanced Soybeans for Commercial Use On June 6, 2012, the Government of Mexico (GOM) announced that it had approved genetically- enhanced (GE) soybeans for commercial use in Mexico for up to 253,500 hectares (ha). GE soybeans had only previously been planted under the experimental and pilot stages in Mexico (since 1995). Moreover, up to this point only GE cotton had been approved for commercial use in Mexico (see 2011 GAIN report MX1056 “Mexico Authorizes First Commercial Biotech Cultivation”). It is important to note that the approval of GE soybeans for commercial use comes at a politically-sensitive time with upcoming presidential elections and at a time that anti-biotech groups have ramped up media attacks to block progress on this front. For example, this announcement was met with articles questioning whether this decision would impair honey exports to the European Union. On June 6, 2012, the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA) through the National Service of Health, Food Safety, and Food Quality (SENASICA) published updated information on the status of 2012 requests for environmental release of genetically- enhanced crops. Based on Mexico’s Biosafety Law, any transgenic seed has to go through three different testing phases: experimental, pilot, and commercial. According to the Biosafety Law, it is in the best interests of biotechnology developers to complete experimental testing as soon as possible in order to begin the pilot testing and, afterwards, the commercial testing. Permits for GE soybeans were granted for seven Mexican states which currently comprise the productive area: Campeche, Quintana Roo, Yucatan, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas, Veracruz and Chiapas and covers an area of 253,500 hectares. The approved soybean event is MON-04032-6 with tolerance to glifosate herbicide. The municipalities where it has been approved are: Champotón, Hecelchakán, Hopelchén, Tenabo, Calkiní, Escárcega, Carmen and Palizada in Campeche; Othón Pompeyo Blanco, José María Morelos and Felipe Carrillo Puerto in Quintana Roo; Santa Elena, Ticul, Oxkutzcab, Tekax, Tzucacab, Peto and Tizimín in Yucatán; Aldama, Altamira, El Mante, González, Xicoténcatl and Tampico in Tamaulipas; Ébano, Tamuín and San Vicente Tancuayalab in San Luis Potosí; Acacoyagua, Acapetahua, Cacahoatán, Escuintla, Frontera Hidalgo, Huehuetán, Huixtla, Mazatán, Metapa, Suchiapa, Suchiate, Tapachula, Tuxtla Chico, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Tuzantán, Villa Comaltitlán and Villaflores in Chiapas and Pánuco in Veracruz These municipalities correspond to the regions of Yucatan Peninsula, Huasteca and Chiapas. From 1995 to 2005, the GOM has granted 50 environmental release permits for experimental testing under the previous legal framework (NOM-FITO056). From 2005 to 2009, under the Bio-safety Law and its Implementation Rules (Reglamento), an additional 30 experimental testing permits have been approved. But it was not until 2010 that the GOM granted the first pilot testing of GM soybean (see Table 1). Mexico. Table 1. Permits and Area Approved for Environmental Release of GM Soybeans Year Permits Area Granted (has) 2005 7 Experimental 17,523 2006 4 Experimental 25,715 2007 6 Experimental 42,000 2008 11 Experimental 70,000 2009 2 Experimental 9 2010 3 Pilot 26,500 2011 1 Experimental 0.34 4 Pilot 46,000 2012 1 Commercial 253,500 Source: SENASICA at the National Information System for Bio-safety and biotechnology: http://www.cibiogem.gob.mx/OGMs/Paginas/Permisos.aspx and http://www.senasica.gob.mx/?id=4443. Information as of June, 2012. Official GOM information regarding requests and permits for environmental release of experimental, pilot and commercial stages of biotech crops (from 1988 to present) is available at the Inter-Ministerial Commission for Bio-safety of Genetically Modified Organisms (CIBIOGEM) website. FAS/MEXICO Comments: On average, Mexico has 165,000 hectares of soybeans planted in a given year, so this decision gives some room for further growth. Moreover, domestic soybean production represents only 5 percent of total domestic consumption as imports have displaced much domestic oilseed production. Roughly 90 percent of soybeans consumed in Mexico are imported from abroad (mostly from the United States). Domestic yields are expected to increase substantially with the use of GE soybean seeds which should lead to an expansion of soybean planted area in Mexico. The GOM has continued moving forward on biotechnology despite the strong opposition and the media campaign of several anti-biotech organizations. There is big pressure to get other GE crops currently in the experimental and pilot pipeline (corn and wheat) approved for commercial use. Corn remains the most sensitive, due to Mexico being the center of origin, and there is question whether the outgoing administration will make this decision or leave it for the next one. For More Information FAS/Mexico Web Site: We are available at www.mexico-usda.com or visit the FAS headquarters' home page at www.fas.usda.gov for a complete selection of FAS worldwide agricultural reporting. Other Relevant Reports Submitted by FAS/Mexico: Report Subject Date Number Submitted MX2017 Mexico Approves 4 Additional GE Corn Pilot Tests 3/25/2012 MX2001 GE Corn Pilot Tests Approved 1/6/2012 MX1100 Mapping Mexican Corn and Implications for Biotech 12/21/2011 Development MX1086 Biotech Corn Permits Being Reviewed-November Update 11/18/2011 MX1070 2011 Biotech Corn Permits Being Reviewed 9/20/2011 MX1056 2011 Biotech Annual: Mexico Authorizes First Commercial 7/15/2011 Biotech Cultivation MX1054 June Cotton Update 6/30/2011 MX1102 2010 Biotech Corn Permits Issued 1/26/2011 Useful Mexican Web Sites: Mexico's equivalent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (SAGARPA) can be found at www.sagarpa.gob.mx , equivalent to the U.S. Department of Commerce (SE) can be found at www.economia.gob.mx and equivalent to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (SALUD) can be found at www.salud.gob.mx. The inter-secretarial commission for biosafety of GMO, that maintain the National Information System www.cibiogem.gob.mx These web sites are mentioned for the readers' convenience but USDA does NOT in any way endorse, guarantee the accuracy of, or necessarily concur with, the information contained on the mentioned sites.
Posted: 28 June 2012

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