Leydy Pech, a 55-year-old apiculturist from Campeche, has won a historic legal victory against corporate giant Monsanto.
Mexico’s supreme court ruled in favor of Pech — also known as the “bee lady” — who argued that genetically modified soybean crops were adversely affecting the livelihoods of indigenous peoples and the ecosystem of southern Mexico.
The court also found that the Mexican government had failed to properly consider the concerns of local indigenous peoples when granting approval for Monsanto’s activities in seven Mexican states.
For several years, indigenous groups in Mexico have been fighting against what they see as encroachment by companies such as Monsanto. Indigenous leaders argue that the benefits of genetically modified crops are outweighed by their costs, such as an over-reliance on chemical pesticides, monoculture and the patenting of strains of soybean, other legumes and corn.
The presence of such crops also creates problems for honey producers, as pollination between bees and genetically modified crops contaminates the honey. This in turn lowers its value on the market, as it can no longer be sold as a non-GMO product.
In recognition of her work, the Hopelchen native was awarded the Goldman 2020 prize, which is widely considered the equivalent of a Nobel prize for environmentalism.