The decision suspends a permit granted to the agrichemical firm Monsanto to farm genetically modified soybeans on over 250,000 hectares (618,000 acres) in the region and instructs a federal agency it must first consult with indigenous communities before granting any future permits for transgenic soy farming.
To justify their decision the judges drew upon the constitution, which states that the opinion of indigenous communities should be taken into consideration when their way of living and culture could be at risk because of a new project or development.
The injunctions against Monsanto, obtained with the support of several non-governmental organizations, were requested by communities whose main economic activity is honey production and collection.
After the court’s decision was made public, organizations including Greenpeace, Indignación and Litiga OLE said Maya communities believe that allowing the farming of transgenic soybeans violates their right to be consulted, and is a threat to a healthy environment.
The organizations said farming genetically-modified soybeans in the region puts honey production and over 15,000 Maya farm families at risk, as “growing the plant requires the use of glyphosate, a herbicide classified as probably carcinogenic.”
For its part, the United States-based Monsanto rejected the claim that GM-soybeans affected in any manner bees or honey production anywhere in Mexico, or that it contributed to deforestation in the state of Campeche, which has also been claimed.
“We do not accept the accusations that make us responsible for deforestation and illegal lumbering in the municipality of Hopelchén, Campeche, or any other part of the country, as we abide strictly by local regulations,” said the corporation in a press release.
According to Monsanto data, 44,000 hectares of soy were farmed during the most recent cycle in the Yucatán peninsula, and 13,000 of those originated from Monsanto seeds.
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