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Facing GM crop restrictions, Mexican cotton farmers may import illegal biotech seeds

Bio Tech

Facing GM crop restrictions, Mexican cotton farmers may import illegal biotech seeds

In 2020, the COVID-19 induced pandemic forced cotton production to plunge. Only one million bales were produced, which is 500 thousand less than previous years. Thirty-five percent of the area wasn't sowed due to the lack of seeds, said Raúl Treviño, president of the cotton production system. In a videoconference, he explained that transgenic cotton seeds have a validity of 5 to 7 years, one hundred percent of the cultivation in Mexico is done with them, and they must be renewed because with new grains it can be raised by 37 percent from current production.

He warned that "desperate producers can import the seeds illegally, thereby eliminating the traceability of genetically modified organisms." Since 1995 the country began to sow genetically modified seeds, which increased the yield since it went from three bales per hectare to seven. He added that now there are not enough seeds to plant the 250 thousand hectares dedicated to cotton cultivation in the country, and only Chihuahua produces one million bales. The international market for organic cotton products is small, but conventional seeds could begin to be sown to enter it. 

Manuel Espinosa Maurer, president of the National Chamber of the Textile Industry, said that two out of three garments that are purchased in the country are illegal. He said that 50 percent of the country's cotton comes from imports, more than 90 percent from the United States, and in the country, productivity must be increased. He explained that there are garments that enter with prices below their value.

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