PARIS – Mexico needs to strengthen the production and quality of its agricultural products to compete in the European Union and, at the same time, diversity its exports with the goal of relying less on the US market.
Increasing exports is one of the greatest challenges for Mexico as it renegotiates the North American Free Trade Agreement and feels the pressure of US President Donald Trump’s scornful comments, Dr. Luis Alberto Lightbourn, the director of Mexico’s Bioteksa biotechnology firm, said Tuesday in Paris.
Lightbourn spoke at the International Biotechnology and Industrial Revolution Summit, which concludes on Wednesday in the French capital.
“At the Lightbourn Institute, we have discovered a group of specific genes that give quality, productivity, safety and, above all, sustainability to crops,” he said.
He added that Mexico is a pioneer in the discovery of heterotrimeric G proteins, which are the basis for cellular signaling.
“We’ve made studies on ‘capsicum annuum’ (hot peppers) and we’ve discovered a series of biogenetic pathways that help us to optimize the crop,” he said.
Lightbourn pointed to the example of biogenetic advances in the cultivation of hot peppers as proof of the potential of Mexico’s agricultural sector and its capacity as the biggest producer and exporter of this product.
In his Paris speech, he explained the characteristics of the proteins and the properties of biogenetic products.
“I’m an enemy of genetically modified organisms. That is to say, I’m a naturally an epigeneticist and all our research projects at the Lightbourn Institute and our production line at Bioteksa are focused on epigenetics, on the genetic modification of organisms and on food safety by measured sustainability,” he said.
“We have two bioethical principles that we must respect: first, do no harm and second, don’t disrupt. Do no harm regarding the soil or environment, plants, water and atmosphere, and don’t disturb the process that the plant itself develops to defend itself against all the aggressive changes of these elements.”
He also said that in every agricultural process each kilogram of product or food must be measured against the quantity of water it requires and that “the production of tons per hectare is already obsolete and now we have to measure in tons per cubic meter of water used.”