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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
VOA – Farmers in the U.S. agricultural heartland who helped elect Donald Trump are now pushing his administration to avoid a trade dispute with Mexico, fearing retaliatory tariffs that could hit over $3 billion in U.S. exports.
AP – Mexico said Thursday it is moving aggressively to diversify its agricultural imports and exports amid trade uncertainty with the United States, by far its largest commercial partner, under President Donald Trump.
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.
Reuters – Avocado farmers in the rolling hillsides of Mexico’s Michoacan state are not worried for now by U.S. President Donald Trump’s threats to tear up a trade deal which could make the favorite snack of Super Bowl viewers more expensive.
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.
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.
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.
El Economista – The effort by avocado producers to boost exports over nearly two decades has paid off, as the sale of avocados to the United States reached 800,000 tons this year Last year the amount was 640,000 tons.
Fresh Plaza – Mexico expects to substantially increase its exports to Arab countries.In a press conference, José Calzada, Secretary of Agriculture (Sagarpa) estimated Mexican agrifood exports to the region will grow 50 percent per year and reach a billion dollars in the next decade.
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.
Bloomberg – Mexico’s sugar chamber says the domestic industry has enough of the sweetener made from cane to ship to the U.S., as more American buyers shift away from supplies made from beets.
The Poultry Site – Mexico has reopened its border to Canadian fresh poultry meat. The deal includes chicken, turkey and, most significant in terms of historical trade, duck meat. Mexico closed its borders in 2004 following an outbreak of avian influenza.
Fresh Plaza – The Mexican government is promoting a project that would result in construction of an irradiation plant for citrus for export. Citrus production in Mexico (including lemon, orange, lime, and grapefruit) amounts to nearly eight million tons.
Fresh Plaza – Producers of table grapes in the Coast of Hermosillo and the Valley of Guaymas are getting ready for the 2016 harvest season. Table grapes from this areas are in high demand in international markets because of their excellent quality.
Fresh 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.