Qualified and scientific information on the use of biotechnology in corn production is a priority in the international activities of Maizall. This is because the lack of timely authorizations in importing countries can hinder the commercialization of the grain. In order to provide adequate information and to discuss the benefits of the technology, representatives of the Maize International Alliance (Maizall) – of Abramilho the Asociación Maíz y Sorgo Argentino (Maizar), of the U.S Grains Council, and of the National Corn Growers Association of the United States participated in a panel during Abramilho’s first Congress in Brasilia on May 17.
For the President of Abramilho, Otávio Canesin, taking the theme to this panel was a way to promote the sustainable development of the corn sector in Brazil, driving the adoption of biotechnological tools and disseminating science-based information. “Through these efforts, we aim to ensure food security, boost international trade, and strengthen the position of Maizall countries as leaders in corn production and exports.
Maizall President Federico Zerboni recounted that the creation of Maizall occurred in January 2013, when leaders of corn producer associations from Argentina, Brazil and the United States met to discuss collaboration in overcoming barriers to global market access related to the adoption of new agricultural technologies, especially biotechnology. “Together, these three countries account for 50% of world corn production and 80% of exports.”
During the debate the participants emphasized the importance of biotechnology combined with good agricultural practices to ensure food security in a scenario of population growth. According to them, with the forecast of a world population of almost 10 billion people by 2050, only through biotechnology and proper crop management will it be possible to increase productivity and meet the demand for food.
Zerboni also addressed the situation of the international corn trade, highlighting the uncertainties arising from the possible global economic downturn and the war in Ukraine. The war and the delay in opening the grain export channel can generate a shortage of corn, especially in less developed countries, since Ukraine is the world’s fourth largest exporter of the product, behind only the United States, Brazil, and Argentina.
Sarah McKay, director of market development at the National Corn Growers Association, and Cary Sifferath, Vice President of the U.S. Grains Council, highlighted the importance of Maizall’s work and how it is essential to ensure sustainability, economic and social security. “We work with our partners around the world, not only to feed the planet, but also to propose solutions to various environmental challenges. It’s a win-win relationship, good for the producer and the consumer,” they explained. McKay mentioned that some countries continue to take decisions on biotechnology that are not based on science and facts, using the example of Mexico, which adopted a Decree in February 2023 to ban the import of GM corn for human consumption.
Maizar president Pedro Vigneau pointed out that this ban affects not only the United States, but all countries that use biotechnology in agricultural production, compromising the safety of using genetically modified organisms (GMOs) without a scientific basis.
For the mediator of the panel, the president of the Cereals Commission of the Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock of Brazil (CNA), Ricardo Ariolli, disinformation is an aggravating factor in this scenario. “Ideologies and doubtful information about the use of biotechnology end up bringing about this type of decision that the government of Mexico has taken.”