24/08/2020 – Mayjor challenges — auf Deutsch lesen

Cotton production in Mexiko

The USDA forecasts a sharp decline in cotton production in Mexico in the 2020/21 season.


The USDA/FAS MY 2020/21 cotton production forecast is 230,000 tonnes. The new area forecast of 147,965 hectares reflects a 36 percent reduction compared to MY 2018/19. © Quelle: Bremer Baumwollbörse/leere Karte: www.d-maps.com


The reduction is a result of low prices, a lack of GE seeds, no glyphosate to manage weeds, and water shortages due to significant drought in the summer of 2019. Additionally, many producers lack financial liquidity, as the MY 2019/20 harvest was of low quality, and therefore brought lower returns.

Rejection of the cultivation of GE cottonseed

In June, the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) announced the rejection of 19 applications for the cultivation of GE cottonseed. SEMARNAT is responsible for reviewing and issuing binding approvals for permits, while the Secretariat of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER) distributes permits directly to seed companies.

SEMARNAT cites concerns of genetically modified varieties intermixing with traditional wild cotton populations found in the south of the country, as well as non-compliance of an indigenous consultation process used in previous administrations as reason for rejection. The permit rejections will have significant ramifications for cotton planning in Mexico, as producers have access to very few outdated GE seed varieties which are not compatible in all growing areas and result in poor yields and ineffective pest protection.

Ban of glyphosate

Since November 2019, SEMARNAT has stopped issuing import permits for glyphosate products, citing the precautionary principle. SEMARNAT and Mexico’s National Council on Science and Technology state that scientific evidence justifies Mexico’s prohibitions on glyphosate, and clearly demonstrates its damage to human health and the environment. Meanwhile, Mexico’s agricultural sector has stated that a ban of glyphosate would severely damage domestic production of certain products, including cotton. Mexico imports 100 percent of glyphosate supplies, and contacts indicate that current stocks are likely to run out in August 2020. Cotton producers have used glyphosate since the 1970’s, and have adopted good management practices. The four cottonseed varieties available for planting this MY are tolerant to glyphosate.

Source: USDA/FAS, Gain Report June 2020