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16 Negocios

Organic Agriculture in Mexico Organic agriculture is rapidly gaining importance as an economic activity in several countries. In Mexico organic food and fibers are geared mainly towards the export market. Such products make up 10% of the country’s total agricultural exports and the market value of Mexico’s organic exports is expected to increase from 700 million usd in 2010 to 800 million usd by the end of 2011. by marÍa cristina rosas

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handful of developing nations with small dofor organic products is on the rise, paving the he Food and Agriculture Ormestic markets for organic products; others way for a more environmentally friendly marganization (FAO) of the United have begun latching on to export opportuniketplace. Nations defines organic agrities, including Mexico, which exports organic A trend is already discernable. Several Euculture as a holistic system of coffee, and Uganda, whose organic cotton is a ropean Union (EU) countries currently grant production management that popular export product. promotes and improves the health Organic food and fiber demand of the agro-ecosystem, particularly Although Mexico lags in 22nd place has opened up a whole new world of biodiversity, biological cycles and soil worldwide in terms of hectares of opportunities for farmers and busibiological activity. Such a system takes organic crops, it has more organic nesses engaged in related activities. into account environmental and social farms than any other country –83,174 And if global growth rates are anyrepercussions, and shuns the use of compared to Italy’s 44,733, and well thing to go by, the balance should be synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, vetabove Uganda’s 40,000. tipping toward organic agriculture as erinary medications, genetically modi2020 approaches. fied seeds and species, preservatives, The private sector has been creatadditives and radiation. ing concepts and markets for organic prodsubsidies to organic farmers to reduce polOrganic agriculture presently accounts ucts for years with some success, but the lution of aquifers and protect biodiversity. In for a relatively small proportion of economic recent increase in consumer demand has Austria and Switzerland, for example, organic activity, but is rapidly gaining importance in caused the public sector to sit up and take agriculture accounts for 10% and 7.8% of the certain countries, regardless of their level of notice. food system, respectively, while the US, France, development –which is good news for the enThe market for certified organic products Japan and Singapore are registering annual vironment at a time when the world’s soils are is dominated by developed nations. That said, growth rates as high as 20%. Egypt is one of a degrading at an unprecedented rate. Demand


18 Negocios

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region at a competitive advantage in a market According to figures for 2010, the market developing countries are becoming seedniche that looks set to acquire increasing global for organic products registered an annual beds for investment opportunities. Australia importance in years to come. growth rate of 10.4%. It is estimated that some has the most hectares dedicated to certiIn the specific case of Mexico, organic 35 million hectares were dedicated to organic fied organic crops (12 million), followed by agriculture is geared mainly towards Argentina (2.8 million) and Brazil export markets. For example, Ger(1.8 million). In terms of land dedimany and Asia purchase most of their There are two main advantages Mexico cated to organic as opposed to conorganic coffee from Mexico, which enjoys on this increasingly contested ventional agriculture, Oceania leads exports more organic products to market: the capacity to produce laborthe way (37.6%) and Europe comes Europe than any other Latin Ameriintensive crops like sesame seeds and the second (24.1%), with Latin America can nation. Such products make up weather conditions to supply products coming in a close third (23%). And in 10% of the country’s total agricultural all year round that are scarce terms of land under certified organic exports and the market value of Mexelsewhere during certain seasons. management as a proportion of land ico’s organic exports is expected to indedicated to agriculture, Austria and crease from 700 million usd in 2010 to Switzerland head the list with 13.4% and 11%, respectively. agriculture in 154 countries across the world, 800 million usd by the end of 2011. In 2007, the global market for organic while the number of certified farmers was Organic products produced in Mexico products was valued at 46 billion usd, but by approximately 1.4 million. are certified by CERTIMEX and other interLatin America currently weighs in with national agencies with offices in the country, 2008 this figure had surpassed 50 billion usd. only 5% of the value of the international marlike the Organic Crop Improvement AssociaToday, the vast majority of organic products ket, yet almost one fourth of the world’s ortion (OCIA), Bioagricert, Imo and Naturland, produced worldwide are consumed by North ganic croplands are located here, putting the but come 2012 Mexico will be introducing its America and Europe.


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own internationally recognized certification clude tomatoes, chili peppers, pumpkin, cu- the ability to produce labor-intensive crops cumber, garlic, onion, eggplant, melon, mango, like sesame seeds and the weather conditions process. And although Mexico lags in 22nd place oranges, apples, papaya, bananas, pineapple, to supply products that are scarce elsewhere worldwide in terms of hectares of organic lime, coconut, peach, avocado, agave (for its during certain seasons all year round. In this context, the way forward for organic crops, it has more organic farms than agriculture in Mexico would seem to any other country –83,174 compared rely in tropical products like coffee, to Italy’s 44,733, and well above UganIn 2007, the global market for organic mango, banana, avocado, cacao, hibisda’s 40,000. Chiapas, Oaxaca and products was valued at 46 billion usd, cus, citrus fruits, papaya, coconut and Michoacán are the Mexican states but by 2008 this figure had surpassed exotic fruits. with the most hectares dedicated to 50 billion usd. According to figures for And when it comes to organic organic crops, which often account 2010, the market for organic products farming methods, Mexico has experifor a substantial proportion of land registered an annual growth rate of ence and know-how, with some proddedicated to that particular product. 10.4%. ucts, such as avocado pulp powder Cases in point include vanilla (14.5%); and dried fruit, boasting home-grown coffee (10.4%); papaya (8.7%); sesame seeds (7.1%); palm oil (4.5%); walnuts (2.4%); nectar), basil, mint, ginger, beans, soya beans, technology. Organic agriculture makes sense cocoa, palm oil, vanilla, peanuts, walnuts, socially and environmentally, but for Mexico pineapple (2.4%) and mango (1.4%). Of the 40-plus organic products Mexico chickpeas and safflower, as well as honey, it has major economic implications. n offers, coffee is without a doubt the most im- milk, cream, cheese, candies and cosmetics, portant, accounting for 69% of land dedicated albeit in smaller quantities. *Professor and researcher in the Political and SoIn short, Mexico enjoys two main advan- cial Sciences Faculty, National Autonomous Unito organic crops, followed by corn (4.5%) and sesame seeds (4%). Other organic crops in- tages on this increasingly contested market: versity of Mexico (UNAM).

Profile for Mexico

ProMexico: Negocios Magazine: Organic Agriculture in Mexico  

Organic agriculture is rapidly gaining importance as an economic activity in Mexico. The export market for such products makes up 10 percent...

ProMexico: Negocios Magazine: Organic Agriculture in Mexico  

Organic agriculture is rapidly gaining importance as an economic activity in Mexico. The export market for such products makes up 10 percent...

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