A restriction on cultivating genetically-modified corn remains in place following a court ruling yesterday in Mexico City.
The Swiss agrochemical company Syngenta had filed an amparo (similar to an injunction) to have the restriction lifted. A court ruled last September that the federal government must stop issuing permits for the experimental and commercial planting of GM corn.
The ruling was made in favor of a suit filed by Colectivas, a coalition of groups and individuals opposed to the cultivation of GM corn in Mexico based on concerns that existing varieties would be contaminated, with the result that corn’s genetic diversity would be threatened.
Although there are still 10 amparos outstanding, having been filed by other firms such as Monsanto and Dow along with the federal agriculture secretariat, activists were buoyed by yesterday’s decision, which was unanimous. They say it sets a precedent for the other challenges.
GM opponents say the limits and restrictions established in the federal law regarding genetically modified organisms are inefficient, and they cite scientific evidence that shows there has been transgenic contamination of native corn in five different states.
Lawyer René Sánchez Galindo, a lawyer for the movement Sin Maíz No Hay País (without corn there is no country), said transgenic cultivation “violates our human right to biological diversity” and affects production of the second most important grain in the world.
The pro-GM movement lost another case last month when a Yucatán judge overturned a permit issued by the federal government to Monsanto to plant 253,000 hectares of genetically-modified soybeans.
Mayan beekeepers and environmental organizations challenged the permit, claiming that honey produced near the GM plantings would be contaminated by soybean pollen. European countries, an important market for Mexican honey, have strict regulations on GM content in imported food products.
The judge in the case decided that honey production and GM soybeans could not co-exist.