1,500 colonies of honeybees, from a community in Hopelchen, Campeche, died this February 6 from the fumigation of Monsanto’s GMO’s in a nearby area.
This has directly impacted more than 50 impoverished families, who recently suffered a poor corn crop due to drought. The community was relying on their sale of organic honey to compensate for the lack of maize. The current honey left by the bees is also lost due to the contamination of pesticides and transgenic pollen.
Alvaro Mena, a mayan farmer from Hopelchen and member of the Network in Defense of Maize, estimated losses at nearly 10 million pesos and is the equivalent of one year’s worth of corn and honey production for the community.
Fumigation has intensified where GM crops have been planted in Mexico. GMO’s are known to be resistant to pesticides and are planted in large mono cultures, applying huge amounts of Roundup. It is no accident says Mena: it is the toxic onslaught that comes with GM crops and the threat of allowing millions of acres of GM Maize to be planted.
Mena attended the debate at which officials failed to attend and began with his witness of GMO’s. Thousands showed up to participate in the debate on GM maize on Thursday, February 7, in a packed auditorium of the Faculty of Science, organized by several networks, including #YoSoy132 Environmental Via Campesina Popular Urban Movement, and the Network in Defense of Maize.
The officials were called to discuss the authorities of Agriculture, Environment and the Inter-ministerial Commission on Biosafety and Genetically Modified Organisms (Cibiogem), but did not attend the meeting of social organizations and visiting scientists. The two secretariats claimed that they had no position on the issue. Currently, there are thousands of hectares of experimental and pilot fields in Mexico contaminating transgenic maize fields. Cibiogem, is reported to have had a busy schedule and could not attend.
Semarnat’s response, sent the day of the debate, stated that the “reports that are pending will not go away because of a think tank debate.” The debate was composed of academics from UNAM, CINVESTAV, Colpi, Conacyt UAAAN and was meant to determine a “public policy on GM corn.”