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Originally published in the Organic & Non-GMO Report.

Mexico’s GMO corn ban presents an opportunity for U.S. farmers to supply non-GMO corn south of the border

While U.S. agribusiness groups are trying to pressure Mexico into abandoning their announced bans on glyphosate herbicide and imports of genetically modified corn by 2024, U.S. suppliers of non-GMO seed and grain see an opportunity to supply Mexico with non-GMO corn.

“Could we supply Mexico? Absolutely,” says Bill Niebur, president of High Fidelity Genetics, an Iowa-based non-GMO corn seed company. “In terms of acres, it’s not a problem. Instead of criticizing Mexico, let’s provide it to them.”

Ken Dallmier, CEO of Clarkson Grain, an Illinois-based supplier of organic and non-GMO grains, agrees. “Given time and focus, I think it’s completely feasible,” he says. “Mexico is a key trading partner, and all the logistics of Mexican grain import come through the U.S. It’s matter of planning and market.”

“An unbelievable proposal?”

There have been statements of impending doom in the U.S. agriculture sector since the government of Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador issued a decree last December calling for the replacement of controversial glyphosate herbicide and imports of GMO corn in the country by January 31, 2024.

The U.S. reaction may have been best expressed by Rich Nelson, chief strategist with Allendale Inc. “I almost refuse to even look at it because I think it’s an unbelievable proposal. I just don’t know what to say. I don’t,” he said in an interview with Western Producer.

At stake are 16.5 million metric tons of corn exports—virtually all GMO—to Mexico each year, which are worth $3 billion. Mexico is the U.S.’s second largest corn buyer after China.

A series of emails obtained using the Freedom of Information Act by the Center for Biological Diversity describe how pesticide industry lobby group, CropLife America, and pesticide and GMO seed producer, Bayer, are working with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to pressure Mexico into abandoning the bans on glyphosate and GMO corn. Read more here.