Mexico issues draft decree to phase out glyphosate and GM maize use

10:31 AM | December 15, 2020 | Robert Birkett

Mexico issued a decree last week proposing to phase-out the use of glyphosate herbicide and genetically modified maize for human consumption in Mexico.

The decree states that use of glyphosate would be phased out over the next four years, although the herbicide would not be used in any government-sponsored program during the transition period. The Ministries of the Environment, Health and Agriculture would “advance legal systems” no later than the second half of 2023 to avoid the use of glyphosate and GM maize.

The draft law includes an article that would require the biosafety authority to revoke existing permits for the cultivation of GM maize and its use for human consumption and not authorize any further licenses. The use of GM maize for human consumption would be phased out no later than January 31st 2024. Mexico does not allow commercial cultivation of GM maize. The decree seems to indicate that the government plans to end field trials and import approvals for use of GM maize as food.

Ratification process

For the proposal to be approved, it would require signatures from the Ministry of Agriculture, the Sader, the Ministry of the Environment, the Semarnat, and the Secretariats of Health, Economy, and Finance and Public Credit, according to the USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS).

The draft decree is open for public comment for an indeterminate period on the government’s national commission for regulatory improvement, the Conamer, website.

Earlier this year, the Mexican President, López Obrador, reiterated that the country would phase out the use of glyphosate by 2024 following an open dispute within the government over the policy. The President was critical of earlier draft decrees for failing to detail a glyphosate phase out, the FAS says. It affirms that the new draft meets the stipulation. Mexico has a moratorium on approvals for GM crop trials in place since 2013, when a Mexican judge ordered the Ministries of Agriculture and of the Environment not to grant further authorizations for trials, pilot planting and commercialization of GM maize.