The Pax Natura Foundation is proud to make this documentary possible.

“Seeds of Sovereignty” tells the story of the intense struggle between the United States and Mexico over Mexico’s ban on the cultivation of genetically modified (GMO) corn. This powerful film delves into Mexico’s determined efforts to protect its native corn varieties, a cornerstone of its rich cultural heritage, from the incursion of GMO crops and the associated use of glyphosate, a controversial herbicide.

Mexico has taken significant steps to protect its native corn varieties and preserve its rich cultural heritage amid concerns over the threats posed by genetically modified organisms (GMO) corn. As the birthplace and center of corn’s origin and diversification, Mexico is home to countless native corn varieties that have been carefully cultivated and evolved over millennia. The introduction of GMO corn into this delicate ecosystem presents a substantial risk of crossbreeding contamination, threatening to erode the country’s vast genetic diversity of corn.

The documentary features interviews with members of the campaign group Demanda Collectiva Maíz, who fought in the courts to safeguard native corn varieties. In September 2013, the campaign group won a major legal victory that ensured GMO corn could not be planted in Mexico.

Emiliano Juárez, Milpa Farmer

Mexico’s position is carefully navigated within the framework of international trade agreements, including the USMCA, endeavoring to protect its unique corn heritage while adhering to international commitments. The U.S. argued that there is no scientific basis for Mexico’s ban on cultivating GMO corn and initiated a dispute panel under the terms of the USMC.

 

Environmental and health considerations are at the heart of Mexico’s decision to ban the cultivation of GMO corn. GMO crops often require specific herbicides and pesticides, which can harm non-target species, disrupt ecosystems, and pollute soil and water sources. Additionally, the consumption of GMO corn could pose health risks. Consequently, Mexico emphasizes the health and safety of its citizens by curtailing exposure to GMO crops and expressing significant concerns over the heavy utilization of glyphosate, which is increasingly linked to human cancer.

“Seeds of Sovereignty” explores the extensive repercussions of employing GMO corn and glyphosate on human health, the environment, and farmer livelihoods. This discussion occurs amidst many legal challenges against Bayer and a contentious scientific and regulatory debate over glyphosate’s safety. Despite the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) deeming glyphosate “probably carcinogenic to humans” in 2015, other agencies like the U.S. EPA contend it poses no significant cancer risk through dietary exposure.

The documentary scrutinizes corporate accountability, regulatory supervision, and the principle of precaution in public health and environmental stewardship. Following a monumental $10 billion settlement by Bayer in June 2020 for numerous Roundup-related lawsuits in the U.S., over 50,000 cases remain in litigation.

In Mexico, corn transcends its status as a mere crop, embodying the nation’s cultural identity and millennia-old traditions, notably through the milpa farming system. The threat of GMO corn contaminating native varieties and the monoculture of industrial farming methods corn severely threatens an agricultural heritage that produces high-quality and safe food and protects biodiversity.

“Seeds of Sovereignty” is more than a documentary; it’s a call to action to preserve Mexico’s biodiversity, food sovereignty, and cultural heritage. It invites viewers to reflect on the implications of GMO practices and the importance of safe and nutritious food for a nation’s citizens.

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