Fresh Plaza – Mexico expects a finalized 12-nation Pacific trade deal to double the country’s agricultural exports to Japan’s mostly closed market to about $2 billion annually.
El Dario de Coahuila – Mexico is on path to producing 75 percent of the nation’s food demand, said Enrique Martinez y Martinez, Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food. the goal should be reached at the end of six years, he said.
Azteca – A group of 200 members of the Democratic Peasants Union blocked the entrances to the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food ( SAGARPA ) demanding support for the agricultural sector.
Scoop – Animal advocacy organisation SAFE is condemning the secret shipment of 50,000 sheep and 3,000 cattle to Mexico on a live export shipment, the largest cargo of animals ever to leave New Zealand.
Reuters – Canada and Mexico will seek World Trade Organization authorization to impose over $3 billion in sanctions against U.S. exports in retaliation against contentious meat-labeling laws, the two nations said on Thursday.
San Diego Union-Tribune -The past five years have left Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe high and dry. The semiarid Valle has fallen well below its already paltry 8 to 10 inches annual average rainfall since 2010.
The drought has juiced the Valle de Guadalupe’s wine industry into survival mode, with owners and growers trying everything they can — from old-fashioned farming techniques to innovative technology to buying up land outside the Valle — to keep the grapes growing and the wine flowing.
Reuters – Mexico is working hard to prevent outbreaks of a bird flu epidemic that has stricken the U.S. poultry and egg industry, an agriculture ministry official said, responding to comments by a world health official who said that Mexico was particularly vulnerable.
Telesur – A leading figure in the movement of Mexican farmworkers striking to demand better labor conditions in San Quintin, Baja California, was attacked by a gang in her home in the early hours of Monday morning, as protests continue in demand of better wages.
By Gabriel Stargardter and Dave Graham / Reuters
Mexico’s government is drawing up a land reform to strengthen the rights of private companies dealing with rural landholders in a bid to lure investment and lift the economy, according to two people familiar with the plan.
The legislation being drafted will draw on an energy reform completed last year that gave the government more power to act in favor of investors in disputes with communal landholders over usage of rural areas such as those known as ejidos, said the two officials from the government and the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
Part of a wider agricultural reform, the sensitive issue of how to create a firmer legal footing for developers without inflaming protests from poor landholders is with the ministry of agrarian, territorial and urban development, the sources said on condition of anonymity.
With almost half of Mexico’s population living in poverty, a large part of them in rural areas, the rights of communal landholders, or ejidatarios, have long been protected in Mexico.
President Enrique Pena Nieto risks major opposition to the reform plan, especially from left-wing groups.
AP – Mexican farmworkers fighting low wages and poor working conditions in Baja California have reached an agreement with the government and their employer. Daily wages will go from 100 to 200 pesos ($13 a day). Workers will be added to the social security system and will be allowed to unionize.
World Socialist – Over the past week, there has been a general winding down of the strike by farm workers of the San Quintin Valley in Baja California. Negotiations have been ongoing as the workers continue to reach out to the government to mediate the bargaining process.
Sentido Comun – The Agriculture Secretariat has set the dates and places that the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea will be closed temporarily to shrimp fishing. The temporary ban already is in effect in other sea areas of the country.
Sentido Comun – SAGARPA decreed the area of Akumal, Quintana Roo, as a fisheries protection area for 21 species of fish and crustaceans that are vulnerable to commercial interests.
Sentido Comun – Mexico announced a quota of 3,000 tons for bluefin tuna catches for this year and next year. Sport fishing of bluefin will be allowed only for “catch and release.”
TeleSur – A report by the Red de Jornaleros Internos (Network of Internal Day Laborers) revealed that 90 percent of Mexican agricultural workers do not have a contract and, therefore, no labor rights, such as social security, medical services, or bonuses. It added that eight of 10 workers do not have access to doctors in case of sickness or accidents.
Sentido Comun – U.S. health authorities have approved the request by Mexican producers of fig and haws, or tecojote, the fruit of the hawthorn, to sell their fruit in the United States. Mexico produces about 5,200 tons per year of figs, and 3,500 tons of haws.
La Prensa – Meat production in Mexico fell 10 percent last year. However, the average price per ton increased 11 percent. There are 881 slaughterhouses acoss Mexico.
Sentido Comun – A coalition of Sinaloa state workers have filed a lawsuit against Jesus Mercado, a Lousiana Aguaculture labor recruiter, for allegedly deceiving the benefits workers would receive for performing temporary work crawfish fishing in Louisiana.
By Omar Millan / AP
Workers at large, export-oriented farms in the Mexican border state of Baja California have led a week of violent protests over low pay, abuses and poor conditions, threatening a harvest that supplies millions of dollars worth of tomatoes, strawberries and other crops to the United States.
Burning tires and tossing rocks at vehicles, hundreds of farmworkers have blocked Baja’s main north-south highway on and off, and as many as 50,000 are believed to be on strike statewide as of Tuesday.
Baja California Gov. Francisco Vega said over the weekend that the harvest — and thousands of jobs — were at risk. “If the fields continue without a workforce, the harvests will be lost and that will affect everyone who depends on this part of the economy,” his office said in a press statement.
Many of the workers are migrants from southern Mexican states like Guerrero and Oaxaca who toil at huge hot-house farms just south of Ensenada. Their demands — health care, overtime pay, days off, an end to abuse by field bosses and more pay than the $8 many earn for a full day of stoop-labor — echo those of farmworkers 40 years ago in the United States.