• Squaremouth travel insurance button 468x106
  • Tico Travel Surfing
  • Costa Rica Real Estate

Following court ruling, anti-GMO activists ask for map of transgenic farms

September 16, 2014

Since genetically modified crops first came to Costa Rica in 1991, the locations of the farms have been kept under wraps. But a new ruling from Costa Rica’s Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court (Sala IV) will now require that type of information to be made public.

“For us this is a great triumph,” Fabián Pacheco, the leader of Bloque Verde, told The Tico Times. “What we want now is to know exactly where each GMO crop is planted.”

Last Thursday, the Sala IV declared the country’s approval process for GMO projects unconstitutional because it violates the right of Costa Ricans to access information that could affect their health and well-being. The case was brought to the court by the Ombudsman’s Office on behalf of several anti-GMO groups including Bloque Verde. The ruling does not ban GMOs in the country, but will require the Agriculture and Livestock Ministry to design a more transparent GMO approval process, and release information that has been kept from the public in the past. The Ombudsman’s Office also argued that because the GMO approval process does not require an environmental impact assessment it violates the constitutional right to a safe and healthy environment, but the court disagreed.

“This vote signifies that the Costa Rican legislation regarding genetically modified organisms is environmentally rigorous and assures protections from environmental risks from this type of agriculture,” said Martin Zúñiga, executive director of CropLife Latin America, a federation of biotechnology companies.

The Agriculture and Livestock Ministry has yet to declare how this ruling will affect GMO projects that were previously approved, including a request from biotechnology giant Monsanto to grow 35 hectares of genetically modified corn that was approved last January. There are currently no GMO corn projects in Costa Rica, and the request’s approval set off a firestorm of protests from environmentalists and health advocates. Because corn pollinates using the air, GMO opponents worry that Monsanto corn seeds could mix with and eventually wipe out native corn species.

According to Pacheco, the lawyers representing anti-GMO groups believe the Sala IV ruling legally nullifies Monsanto’s request, but the final decision falls to the Agriculture Ministry.

“For now we are just going to keep the pressure on,” Pacheco said. “We will start by demanding that this map be released to the public.”

You may be interested

New app helping anglers and students fish smarter, not harder
Fishing
11 views
Fishing
11 views

New app helping anglers and students fish smarter, not harder

Todd Staley - February 24, 2020

Since man began taking fish from the ocean, they have used natural occurrences and eventually man-made technology to help them…

Authorities begin investigation into Costa Rica data analysis unit for fear of privacy breach
Costa Rica
22 views
Costa Rica
22 views

Authorities begin investigation into Costa Rica data analysis unit for fear of privacy breach

AFP and The Tico Times - February 24, 2020

The Ombudsman's Office of Costa Rica on Monday began an investigation into a government unit for data collection and analysis,…

Costa Rica to take decarbonization steps this week
Costa Rica
43 views
Costa Rica
43 views

Costa Rica to take decarbonization steps this week

The Tico Times - February 24, 2020

Under the direction of the Environment and Energy Ministry (MINAE), Costa Rica this week will take steps toward achieving its…

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!