Ever since negotiations for a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) got under way, its effect on the Mexican maize sector and the conservation of maize diversity has been a subject of debate. Our purpose in this paper is to look back at this debate and compare the facts and the forecasts.
We review the commitment to liberalize the North American maize market, the actual policies undertaken to this effect, and the evolution of maize output, imports and consumption in Mexico. Then, we address two associated threats to in situ conservation of maize in Mexico: the extinction of subsistence maize agriculture and the spread of maize transgenes in maize’s center of diversity.
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