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Will NAFTA be used to challenge court rulings in Mexico against GM crops?

An article in the Guardian UK raises the spectre of Monsanto using the investor-state provision of NAFTA to challenge recent court decisions in Mexico stopping the planting of genetically modified crops that kill honey bees, pollute the water, and violate Indigenous rights.

The newspaper reports, “A small group of beekeepers in Mexico has inflicted a blow on biotech giant Monsanto, which has halted the company’s ambitions to plant thousands of hectares of soybeans genetically modified to resist the company’s pesticide Roundup. A district judge in the state of Yucatán last month overturned a permit issued to Monsanto by Mexico’s agriculture ministry, Sagarpa, and environmental protection agency, Semarnat, in June 2012 that allowed commercial planting of Roundup-ready soybeans.”

The article continues, “In withdrawing the permit, the judge was convinced by the scientific evidence presented about the threats posed by GM soy crops to honey production in the Yucatán peninsula, which includes Campeche, Quintana Roo and Yucatán states. Co-existence between honey production and GM soybeans is not possible, the judge ruled.”

In March, a court also ruled against the planting of GM crops in the state of Campeche, Yucatan. A similar case is pending in Chiapas and it is expected the ruling there will also be against Monsanto.

The Guardian article concludes, “This is almost certainly only round one. Monsanto will probably appeal against the decision to a higher court. The North American Free Trade Agreement, criticised by some for crippling small-scale Mexican farming, is not on the side of the beekeepers. This David and Goliath battle is about so much more than honey.”

Bees are critical to our food supply. Seventy out of the top 100 crops that supply about 90 per cent of the world’s nutrition are pollinated by bees. Our healthiest foods – fruits, nuts and vegetables – are pollinated by bees. We need bees for blueberries, apples, cherries, avocados, broccoli, carrots, onions, and so much more.

Further reading
London chapter participates in ‘Bee Against Monsanto’ action
Barlow calls for a ban on neonicotinoid insecticides