What is MAIZALL?
- MAIZALL is an international maize alliance composed of four organizations representing maize growers: MAIZAR–Argentine Corn Association; AMBRAMILHO– Brazil Federation of Corn Producers; National Corn Growers Association-USA; and U.S. Grains Council-USA. It has a common goal to communicate the benefits of modern agriculture production and collaborate on biotechnology policy across the Americas.
What are the major objectives of MAIZALL?
- MAIZALL is intended to provide a mechanism through which maize producer organizations in North and South America can collaborate on a global basis to address key issues such as food security, biotechnology, stewardship, trade and producer image. It is essential for producers to find common ground with global consumers on these issues. We believe that MAIZALL will offer an effective platform for enhancing industry-to-industry and government-to-government, and public outreach efforts in these areas.
What were the driving forces that led to the creation of MAIZALL?
- There is consensus that the world population will grow to more than 9 billion people by 2050. And that growth will require a doubling of food production to meet that demand, particularly as the middle class continues to expand to record levels. This will, in turn exert sustained pressure on food prices, increasing concerns about food security.
- As growers we have the ability to meet this demand with the continued adoption of modern farming practices, including agricultural biotechnology. And we know that we will have to do this with fewer natural resources. Agricultural biotechnology is a critical component of the growing global bioeconomy that will be necessary to sustainably provide for the needs of the growing population and mitigate the impacts of climate change, while protecting natural resources.
- At the same time, the lack of predictable and functional science-based regulatory and trade policies in reviewing and approving new crop technologies by governments worldwide are imposing a crippling burden on technological innovation. For growers, the delays in introducing new technologies mean lost opportunities for higher yields and lower input costs. For consumers facing ever-increasing food prices, the consequences are more acute.
How will MAIZALL be effective as your members are also competitors in exports of maize?
- Our job as both growers and exporters is to feed an increasingly prosperous global population that will reach nine billion by the middle of this century. We are competitors in these markets. But at the same time, it is clear that none of us is large enough to do the job alone. The world needs all of us. Food security is important to every country. We know that it will take our collective efforts to increase production and that increased trade is necessary to close that gap. We have a common objective in ensuring we have a global trading system that meets the needs and aspirations of a growing world.
How will MAIZALL work to address issues such as global asynchronous approvals of biotechnology products?
- MAIZALL will offer the ability as major global producers and exporters to communicate with governments of importing countries, as well as our import customers and consumers that we can meet the global demand for food and feed and that we can be long-term reliable customers and provide food security. But to do that we must have access to the technological innovations of agricultural biotechnology to meet those commitments.
- MAIZALL will also work with our respective governments in Argentina, Brazil, and United States as well as other like-minded countries to promote the application of science-based, transparent and predictable regulatory approaches that foster innovation and ensure a safe and reliable global food supply, including the cultivation and use of agricultural products derived from innovative technologies.
How will MAIZALL communicate with consumers and assure them that genetically modified crops are safe for human health and the environment?
- We bring the perspective of being both a producer and consumer of food. We know the value of agricultural biotechnology because we can see the benefits that has allowed us to collectively increase crop yields, reduce the need for inputs such as fuel, fertilizers and pesticides, reduce soil erosion and thus cut carbon emissions and produce our crops more sustainably.
- We believe in this technology. We consume these food products. We have trust in over twenty years of global scientific consensus of biotechnology, in the governments and world scientific organizations that have determined this technology is safe for human health and the environment.
- More importantly, we believe this technology is imperative if we are to meet the moral obligation to feed a growing world population that will require doubling the current level of food production. Even now over 800 million people do not have enough food to eat.
How will MAIZALL address concerns raised by anti-biotechnology groups?
- Humans have been modifying food for millennia via the process of artificial selection. Biotechnology simply opens new opportunities and allows the modification process to occur quickly and far more accurately. Science does not stand still, and the technological innovation of agricultural biotechnology will continue to make huge advances. Scientists are devising crops that deal with challenges such as climate change. For example, researchers are developing drought-resistant corn, and other scientists have proposed engineering plants to become more proficient at sequestering greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. Biotechnology has resulted in increased nutritional value of food. For example, the so-called “Golden Rice”—a strain of rice genetically modified to produce more beta carotene—is more effective than spinach as a source of vitamin A.
- Generally, technologies are judged on their benefits, not the claim that they are harmless. The positive effects of say, the automobile or aspirin far outweigh their dangers. Unfortunately, biotechnology has not been as well accepted because of a policy of precaution based on perceived theoretical risks. Thus the opposition to biotechnology is political rather than scientific in nature.