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Mexican activists protest genetically-modified corn

(ROUGH CUT ONLY - NO REPORTER NARRATION) Protesters descended on Mexico City's Zocalo plaza on Saturday (September 29) to denounce the production of genetically-modified corn by large multinational corporations in the Latin American country, widely believed to be the birthplace of the staple grain. Dragging a large stack of corn through the capital's colonial heart, demonstrators protested recent government approvals of large plantations to produce genetically modified corn in Mexico by foreign agricultural biotechnology corporations. Fearing the growing competition will drive the country's small corn producers to bankruptcy and put at risk the country's 55 varieties of native corn, critics say the government is destroying domestic production. As corn features heavily in many of Mexico's world-famous dishes, the country has long been hesitant to adopt transgenic maize seeds. Many consumers are concerned about the health and environmental consequences of a transgenic grain. With Mexico one of the world's biggest corn producers -- more than 20 million tonnes on average per year -- supporters of transgenic corn say Mexico has fallen behind other agricultural powerhouses such as its neighbour the United States where genetically modified seeds are widespread.

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