Mexico’s top court ruled that GM soy seed producers must consult with indigenous communities, saying the genetically modified seeds have a significant impact on the local environment.
Mexico’s top court blocked the use of genetically modified soy seeds in two states, saying it will uphold the ban until indigenous communities who have been fighting against the use of such seeds are consulted.
The Supreme Court ruled recently to apply an injunction against Mexico’s agriculture ministry SAGARPA, which had granted permission to use genetically modified seeds in the southern states of Campeche and Yucatan.
According to the court, SAGARPA had violated the right to consultation of the local indigenous communities, as written in the constitution. Several of these communities then filed an injunction against the agricultural body for granting such permits.
“Indigenous peoples and communities in the country are entitled to be consulted in cases where impacts could be significant; that is, in cases where administrative acts, development programs, projects or other actions may affect their lives and environment in a relevant way,” the court said in a statement.
The U.S.-based agricultural giant Monsanto appeared among the list of interested parties in the case, according to Reuters.
The agrochemical company has long been eyeing Mexico as a point of expansion, particularly for the sale of genetically engineered corn, which it claims will increase local farmers’ yields. Opponents, however, argue against the use of GM seeds, saying traditional farming methods and native seeds can better boost small farmers’ harvest and protect biodiversity.
Monsanto has also been criticized for its variety of Roundup Ready seeds, which are genetically modified to be resistant to the herbicide Roundup – another Monsanto product. It is argued that these seeds increase the need for, and use of, pesticides. Soy, along with corn, canola, alfalfa, cotton and sorghum are some of the seeds that are currently sold as Roundup Ready crops.