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MEXICO
Tortilla price hike
Latinamerica Press
2/6/2007
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Government authorities, and tortilla producers and vendors signed a 13-point accord Jan. 17 to stabilize the price of tortillas — a staple in the Mexican diet — which rose from 8 pesos (US$0.73) in December to 14 pesos ($1.20) per kilogram in mid-January.

The price of corn rose to its highest point in 10 years because of a growing demand for the grain from the United States to produce ethanol.

Mexican farmers have requested authorization to plant transgenic corn to make up for the lack of this grain. A ban on genetically-modified corn in Mexico has been in place for the last eight years.

"The main reason is to guarantee the grain’s supply to give our people something to eat at reasonable prices," says Jaime Yesaki, president of the National Agricultural Council.

Environmental groups, such as Greenpeace, oppose the cultivation of genetically-modified corn, warning that it puts the native varieties of this grain that have been grown in Mexico for thousands of years at risk, and that it will make the country more vulnerable to insect-born diseases and will only benefit large transnational companies.


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