CHACSINKÍN, Yuc. (EL UNIVERSAL) .- After the authorization of the planting of transgenic crops in Yucatan and Campeche in 2011 a judicial struggle started in which producers and civil organizations have warned that they will not allow any GMOs to be grown in their lands, as they assure these will be harmful to the population and the environment in the long term.
The “Guardians of the Seeds” (Guardianes de las Semillas), a fusion of civil organizations and local producers pointed out that they will continue in their fight so that the sowing of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is not authorized, and totally forbbiden, even at an experimental level.
In order to address the demanded measures against GMOs and protect the production of honey, of which Yucatan is national leader, decree 418 was issued the in 2016, prohibiting GMOs in the state. Nevertheless, the highest court by the Presidency of the Republic, argued that the State Executive is not authorized to prohibit the crops, as the Biosecurity is responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food: SAGARPA (Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación).
In 2011, Yucatecan farmers from the communities of Tekax and Peto, were threatened by the presence of the multinational company Monsanto, which was authorized by the National Service of Health, Safety and Agri-Food Quality (Senasica) to plant transgenic soy in an experimental phase .
Then, in 2014, after the pilot of planting transgenic soy was authorized not only in Yucatan but in Campeche and Quintana Roo, an injunction was obtained from the Federal judges, arguing violations to environmental laws.
In 2015, 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.
Source: Diario de Yucatan
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