San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Matina becomes the latest Costa Rican municipality to ban GMO production

In a unanimous decision on Friday, the municipality of Matina, Limón, on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, passed an ordinance banning the growth of genetically modified crops.

Matina becomes Costa Rica’s 64th municipality to ban GMO production in some form, making 80 percent of Costa Rica theoretically GMO-free. Without a national ban, however, GMO projects approved by the Agriculture and Livestock Ministry are allowed to continue even in municipalities with active GMO prohibitions.

On Oct. 16, lawmakers introduced a bill that would place a moratorium on the expansion of GMO projects in Costa Rica. If passed, current GMO farms would be unable to expand, and new GMO ventures would be prohibited.

Only 17 municipalities have yet to enact a GMO ban. Two Costa Rican anti-GMO groups, the Ecologist Federation and the Bloque Verde, will meet with officials from three municipalities without bans, Siquirres, Parrita and Alajuelita, in November. 

For a background on GMOs in Costa Rica, see our GMO explainer here.

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