Can GMO corn help Mexican farmers reduce pesticides?

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Is there a way to reduce pesticide use? Scientists believe that insect-resistant maize could be the answer. Scientists have found that modified maize could increase yields and decrease pesticide use in Mexico.

In order to combat insects, Mexican famers primarily rely on chemical insecticides. About 3,000 tons of active ingredients are used each year just to manage the fall armyworm. Other chemicals are used to control other pests. Because these pests are so widespread, Mexico uses the highest quantity of pesticides per hectare of arable land in North America.

“However, all of these insect pests can be effectively controlled with Bt corn and integrated pest management programs.” Urbano Nava-Camberos, one of the co-authors of the new study in the Journal of Integrated Pest Management, said in a news release.

While there are those who oppose the introduction of these varieties in Mexico, the use of pesticides may actually be the greater environmental threat in the long term.

“Unfortunately, people who oppose the introduction of this technology in Mexico do not seem to realize that a far greater environmental impact is done by applying more than 3,000 tons of insecticide active ingredient each year,” said Guadalupe Pellegaud, co-author of the study.

Read the full, original article: Mexican Farmers Spread 3000 Tons of Pesticide Over Corn: GMOs the Answer?

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