Mexican farm activists are celebrating a victory against Bayer-Monsanto, an agricultural giant, today. That is due to a significant win in a lengthy legal battle that pitted local corn farmers against chemical and seed companies.
At issue was the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in corn, and it goes back to 2013. That is when a small group called Demanda Colectiva en Defensa del Maíz Nativo (Collective Lawsuit in Defense of Native Corn), made up of farmers, environmental groups, and consumers, called upon the Mexican government to stop the use of GMOs.
The cornerstone of the argument from the activists was that corn, being an enormous staple in the culture of Mexican food, is covered in Mexico’s constitution that protects the right to a clean environment. Additionally, corn that has been genetically modified, like other crops, cross-pollinates and will put native corn varieties at risk.
The court ruled in favor of the collective and stopped companies planting GMO corn until such a time that the case could be heard. Eight years have passed since then, and in that time, numerous appeals have been filed by Bayer-Monsanto. Meanwhile, the injunction stays in place.
This week, Mexico’s Supreme Court just rejected those appeals and voted to ratify the injunction that restricts the cultivation of genetically modified corn. The ruling affects not just Bayer-Monsanto, but also Syngenta and Corteva.
Though the collective is celebrating this victory, it is only temporary. In a statement released, the collective said, “We still have a long way to go to achieve the definitive ban on transgenic corn in Mexico, an action that will guarantee the preservation and protection of native corn, of the milpa, of the rights of peasants to a healthy environment.”
Meanwhile, the actual case has yet to be heard. A date has yet to be announced for the case to be on any court’s docket.