Mayan beekeepers against Monsanto transgenic soya, Campeche, Mexico


Monsanto Co. genetically modified soybean commercial plantations are grown in 9 Mexican federal states mainly for the production of human-edible oil and animal food for national market. From 2000-2009, production of Monsanto Co. soybean took place under the status of ‘experimental’ stage- allowing for planting of a GMOs for experimental purposes including use of containment measures to restrict its contact with the population and the environment (Mexican federal Biosafety Law, 2005). In 2010 and 2011, the experimental plantations became a ‘pilot program’ that allows production of GMOs with or without containment measures (GMO Biosafety Law, 2005). In June 2012, The Mexican Ministry of Agriculture, Stockbreeding, Rural Development, Fishery and Food (SAGARPA) issued a permit to Monsanto Co. for upgrading of the soybean project on around 250,000 ha, from ‘pilot‘ to ‘commercial, allowing production of GMOs without any containing measure. The Mexican Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) supported this decision.

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Basic Data
NameMayan beekeepers against Monsanto transgenic soya, Campeche, Mexico
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Deforestation
Intensive food production (monoculture and livestock)
Specific CommoditiesSoybeans
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsIn 2011, the Mexican federal government reported 167,889 ha of soybean plantations (14,959 ha in the Yucatan Peninsula), which produced 141,143 tonnes (25,786 tonnes in the Yucatan Peninsula)

Currently there are 1.9 million beehives in Mexico, cared for by 42 thousand beekeepers. They produce an annual average of 56,000 tonnes of honey, with an estimated value of 150 million USD.
Project Area (in hectares)60,000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population25,000 families
Start Date2012
Company Names or State EnterprisesMonsanto Corporation (Monsanto Co) from United States of America - Investments in transgenic soybean plantations
Relevant government actorsThe Mexican Ministry of Agriculture, Stockbreeding, Rural Development, Fishery and Food (SAGARPA); The Mexican Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT); TheNational Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO); The National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP); The National Institute of Ecology (INE); State governments of the Yucatan Peninsula: Campeche, Quintana Roo and Yucatan.

International and Financial InstitutionsUnited Nations Development Programme (UNDP) from United States of America
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersProductores Unidos Lol K´ax; Productos de Miel Real el Panal de Suc-Tuc; Miel y Cera de Campeche; Koloolel Kab; Unión de Apícolas Indígenas Cheneros; Colectivo Apícola de los Chenes; Colectivo MA OGM; Indignación A.C.; Educe S.C. de R. L.; Unión de Científicos Comprometidos con la Sociedad (UCCS); Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental (CEMDA); Grupo de Estudios Ambientales, Semillas de vida; Greenpeace; El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR).
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationCommunity-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Genetic contamination, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Groundwater pollution or depletion
OtherContamination with glyphosate- the herbicide used for GM soybeans
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other environmental related diseases
Potential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
OtherAccording to research done in Argentina, glyphosate has caused miscarriage, hypothyroidism, diabetes, birth malformations, and cancer in human populations living close to the plantations.
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCourt decision (victory for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
Application of existing regulations
Project cancelled
Development of AlternativesAccording the the decison of the Second District Court brought on the demand by Mayan beekepers and supporters, SAGARPA has an obligation to ensure that no GM soybean is planted in the state of Campeche. If SAGARPA plans to reactivate the permit, it will have to meet two prerequisites: a) consider a new opinion on environmental impacts of soybean plantations issued by CONABIO, CONANP and INE; b) respedt FPIC with Mayan communities in the region.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.This court decision represents a victory to environmental justice in the state of Campeche, however there are similar ongoing court cases in state of Yucatan, Quintana Roo and Chiapas. The final victory would be decreeing the Peninsula Yucatan and the state of Chiapas as GMO free area.
Sources and Materials

The Mexican federal GMO Biosafety Law (Ley de Bioseguridad de Organismos Genéticamente Modificados, 2005)
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Tamariz, Gabriel. 2013. Apiculture vs. Transgenic soy in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, EJOLT Factsheet No. 004, 5 p.
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Apicultores de Yucatán son afectados por cultivo de soya transgénica que contamina su miel
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Campeche prohibe transgénicos de Monsanto por afectar la apicultura y a los mayas
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Frena juez la siembra de soya transgénica en Campeche
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Miel, oro amarillo
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Otorgan Nuevo amparo contra el permiso de siembra de soya transgénica concedido a Monsanto
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Taller sobre transgénicos y apicultura en la Península de Yucatán
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Soya transgénica amenaza a 20 mil familias mayas
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Detectan polen de soya transgénica en mieles de la Península de Yucatán
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Detectan polen de soya transgénica en mieles de la Península de Yucatán
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Media Links

Mayan people say no to GE crops
[click to view]

Other Documents

"Ma OGM" (NO-GMO in Maya) Sin Transgénicos protest in Mayan ceremonial centre Oxquintoc, Yucatan
[click to view]

NO to GMOs in Mexico! Greenpeace protesting against GMOs in Mexico in front of SAGRAPA's office
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorJovanka Spiric, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, vankajo(at)
Last update03/07/2014