Category Archives: Agriculture

Mexico native crops hold key to food security

VOA – Mexico’s ancient civilizations cultivated crops such as maize, tomatoes and chilies for thousands of years before the Spanish conquerors arrived — and now those native plants could hold the key to sustainable food production as climate change bites, said leading ecologist José Sarukhán Kermez.

Fears new wastewater plant will kill farming

AP – For more than 100 years, most of what gets flushed down Mexico City’s toilets has resurfaced two hours to the north in the rivers and reservoirs of the rural Mezquital Valley. A massive new water treatment plant is about to change this. But rather than welcoming the prospect of cleaner water, angry farmers are demanding the government honor an 1895 presidential decree granting them the right to the capital’s untreated sewage, which they see as fertilizer-rich, if foul, irrigation water.

Avocado production down but demand still grows

The Packer – Natural production cycles and the lasting effect of hail during flowering last year are likely to be seen on the Mexico’s post-season avocado totals when the current season ends on June 30. Predictions put the decrease at 20%, compared with the year before. Far from being gloomy, however, Mexico’s avocado exporters are upbeat about their future prospects.

U.S. dairy farmers worry about trade to Mexico

AP – U.S dairy farmers already struggling with low milk prices worry President Donald Trump’s talk of renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement could harm trade to Mexico, its biggest export market.

About 15 percent of dairy production in the United States is exported with one-third valued at $1.2 billion going to Mexico in the form of milk powder, cheese and whey protein.,504673

The food and farm fallout from a possible Trump trade war with Mexico

A variety of Mexican food products ready for export to the U.S.
A variety of Mexican food products ready for export to the U.S.

By Christina Cooke / Civil Eats

The menu at Centro, a popular Mexican restaurant in downtown Raleigh, N.C., relies on avocados, lemons, limes, and cheeses like queso fresco and cotija imported from Mexico. Since election day, Centro owner and chef Angela Salamanca, like many restaurateurs across the country, has grown increasingly nervous as she’s watched the Trump administration pursue a hostile stance toward Mexico on issues related to trade.

“… If there’s a tax imposed on Mexican products, we’ll be in serious trouble, and not just for our food, for our Mezcal, too. We would have to reconfigure our business. What would our offering be if we couldn’t have access to the necessities of Mexican cuisine?” Salamanca said.

Behind Canada, Mexico is the largest supplier of agricultural goods to the United States, selling $21 billion worth of food to Americans in 2015, including $4.8 billion in fresh vegetables, $4.3 billion in other fresh fruit, $2.7 billion in wine and beer, and $1.4 billion in processed fruit and vegetables.

Because U.S. agriculture is so intertwined with the Mexican economy, the U.S. has a lot to lose in a trade war. As do American eaters: A full 93 percent of the Hass avocadoes in the U.S. come from Mexico, as well as 71 percent of the tomatoes and 15 percent of the sugar. Additionally, the U.S. imports 79 percent of its neighbor’s exported tequila.

Nevertheless, the Trump administration is taking an aggressive stance toward its southern neighbor.

Days after his inauguration, the Trump team floated the idea of a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico as a way to pay for the wall. House Republicans have proposed a different idea, a “border-adjustment” tax on imports.

The president has also voiced his intention to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta). If he can’t renegotiate the agreement to get a “better deal” for the American worker, the president has threatened to withdraw completely.

Ben Lilliston, the director of corporate strategies and climate change with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, points out that the administration, which still does not have a Department of Agriculture head in place, is not paying much attention to the needs of farmers as it thinks about trade policy.

“When you go after manufacturing, agriculture and food get hit in the crossfire of that trade fight,” Lilliston said. And, he adds, “Agriculture is probably the most sensitive topic in any trade negotiation, because it’s about food security.”

Boll weevil: A scourge that U.S., Mexico fight together

NYT – The boll weevil is just one of the many issues that rely on bilateral cooperation between the United States and Mexico, and it embodies, in microcosm, many of the essential qualities of the broader relationship between the two countries: an alliance bordering on codependence despite economic, political and cultural differences.

Monsanto sees long delay on GMO corn permits

Reuters – A ban on planting genetically modified corn in Mexico is likely to continue for years as a slow-moving legal battle grinds on, said a top Monsanto executive. Last week, a Mexican court upheld a late 2013 ruling that temporarily halted even pilot plots of GMO corn following a legal challenge over its effects on the environment.

Deforestation for avocados higher than thought

Fox News – Authorities in Mexico say deforestation caused by the expansion of avocado orchards is much higher than previously thought. The attorney general’s office for environmental protection says that almost 50,000 acres (20,000 hectares) of forest land are converted to agricultural uses each year in the western state of Michoacan, the world’s top producer of the fruit.

Avocados stuck in Mexico; prices headed north

SFGate – Mexican growers are withholding fruit as they try to negotiate higher payment from packers, and now the wholesale avocado price is two to four times higher than usual. As the primary U.S. supplier this time of year, after California’s season has ended and not much is coming out of Chile or Peru, the growers in Mexico have leverage.

Bankaool launches credit for barley producers

Sentido Comun – Bankaool, a credit institution focused on supporting agricultural and agro-industrial activities in Mexico, announced the launch of a special funding program for barley producers in the states of Hidalgo, Puebla and Tlaxcala.…0.0…1ac.1.YUXExftIlis

Mexico wants to expand uses of prickly pear cactus

Prickly pear cactusFresh Plaza – Mexico is the leading producer of fresh prickly pear cactus for human consumption worldwide with 12,000 hectares planted and a production of nearly 825,000 tons per year. Apart from human consumption, the product could be used in cosmetics, fodder for livestock, the generation of biogas and electricity or in the pharmaceutical industry.