Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has made a career out of railing against the neoliberal capitalist model of at least Mexico’s last five governments. He was swept into office last year most likely on the promise of putting an end to systemic government corruption, but along the way he dwelled heavily on providing relief to the poorest sectors of society. The new president’s populist themes also include food and energy self-sufficiency, a nod to the import-substitution model popular among Latin American governments in the 1960s. In order to take on two of these targets at once, AMLO has been rolling out a series of new programs to “rescue the countryside” (rescatar al campo) by providing focused support to small producers of basic foodstuffs. Continue reading Will new agriculture policy affect import markets?
The renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Mexico, Canada and the United States continues to trudge on, with the fate of the agreement hanging in the balance. The U.S. government initiated the renegotiation at the behest of President Donald Trump, who has reiterated his willingness to abandon the pact on multiple occasions. But it appears that Mr. Trump is working himself into something of a political pickle, since if he actually made good on this threats and pulled the United States out of NAFTA, it could cause serious consequences for some bedrock sectors of his own party in the run-up to mid-term Congressional elections in the U.S. this year. This has not been lost on midwestern grain farmers, most of whom – we’re just going to go out on a limb and take a guess here – probably voted for Mr. Trump in the 2016 presidential election. Grain exports are very important to midwestern grain farmers in states such as Nebraska, Missouri and Iowa, for which Mexico ranks as either number one or number two export market for overall exports. Not all grain exports are used to produce animal feed, but lately we’ve been languidly gazing at statistics on livestock feed production to allay our vespertine torpor, and it looks to us like they paint a pretty clear picture about the impact of public policy on industry. Continue reading Animal feed industry eyes NAFTA talks warily
A federal judge in Mexico issued a ruling early this month suspending any planting of genetically modified (GMO) corn in the country. The ruling also bars the Ministries of Agriculture (Sagarpa) and the Environment (Semarnat) from approving any pending permits to plant GMO corn for “experimental, pilot or commercial” purposes until further scientific evidence is presented on the potential risks of GMO corn to the country’s native maize species. According to media reports, 14 requests for permits to plant GMO corn are pending before government agencies from seed companies including Monsanto, Pioneer and Dow AgroScience, among others. Continue reading Judge halts GMO corn planting in Mexico