Posted on Mar 13 2014 – 2:00pm by Sustainable Pulse

Following a ban on the cultivation of GM Maize in Mexico in 2013, the Campeche region of the country has now prohibited the growing of  GM Soybeans following a two year court battle.

bees mayans

The Second District Court in Campeche ruled this week in favor of three Mayan communities from the Hopelchén township who had taken on the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock , Rural Development, Fisheries and Food ( Sagarpa) and the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources ( SEMARNAT).

In a landmark ruling, the Court granted in favor of  the Pac -chen and Cancabchen communities in Hopelchén and determined that the effects of the ruling it applied to all municipalities affected by the permit for GM soybean cultivation in Campeche. Sagarpa now has an obligation to ensure that no GM Soybeans are planted in the state.

The problem began on June 6, 2012 , when the Sagarpa , with the support of SEMARNAT permitted the release of Monsanto’s Roundup-Ready GM Soybeans into the environment. The planting of 253 000 hectares was allowed in seven states of Mexico , including the municipalities of Campeche, Hopelchén , Tenabo , Calkiní , Escárcega , Carmen and Palisade .

In Campeche the Mayan authorities reacted angrily to the government authorization and Pac- Chen, Cancabchen and various associations of Campeche beekeepers decided to go to court to prevent the planting, because it affects the honey industry through GM ‘pollution of  production’, which has resulted in the closure of some of the beekeepers’ international markets.

The Mayan communities stated that the planting of GM Soybeans affected the traditional historical practices of the people (beekeeping) and that there was a violation of their right to a healthy environment through the overuse of herbicides and deforestation that GMOs encourage.

After nearly two years of litigation, the Second District Court  supported the indigenous communities’ claims.

In addition , the Directorate General of Environmental Impact and Risk of SEMARNAT , when giving the approval for the permit, was found to have violated the procedure laid down in its Rules of Procedure , by omitting three binding rulings Conabio , CONANP and INE, which advised against planting of genetically modified soy in marked polygons.