13 May 2012

GMO Action Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico.

Recently members of the Mayan people living on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico joined Greenpeace activists and said no to genetically engineered crops. Using their own bodies to form the message ‘MA OGM’ or ‘No to GE’, 2000 activists gathered at eight different Mayan archaeological sites to draw attention to the risks of contamination of honey production by Monsanto’s genetically engineered (GE) soy.

It is important to remember that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has already ruled that honey contaminated with pollen from GE maize, also produced by Monsanto cannot be sold on the EU market. 40% of the Mexican honey is produced on the Yucatan and it exports 90% of its production to Europe. Monsanto’s GE soy is therefore threatening the livelihood of the forty thousand beekeepers and their families who rely on honey production.

Monsanto has requested authorization to plant commercial GE soy in Mexico despite a previous court order that invalidated a permit to plant 30 000 hectares with ‘pilot sowing’ of GE soy in the States of Campeche, Yucatan and Quintana Roo. Out of the 253 000 hectares that have been applied for, 60 000 are planned in Yucatan and if approved it could be only a matter of time before the Mexican honey is contaminated by Monsanto’s GE soybean pollen.

The Governor of Yucatan, Ivonne Ortega Pacheco has already said she is in favour of declaring Yucatan GE-free and she made a request to this effect to the Mexican Ministry of Agriculture. The action also aimed to encourage municipalities and other States to declare themselves GE-free and to get the Mexican federal government to ratify these decisions and give them legal standing. Earlier this year, Greenpeace protested to the Mexican authorities as they ignored the recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food – Olivier de Schutter to restore the moratorium on GE maize in the country.

The bee population in general is suffering from Colony Collapse Disorder, a phenomenon where worker bees abruptly disappear and cause a collapse of the bee colony, due to multiple factors linked to agrochemicals. The economic effect is significant as over 90% of the world’s food crops need bees.


Aleira Lara

GE Campaigner, Mexico