Chinese Growers May Appropriate Poblano Pepper
In July 2019, Poblanerías reported that growers in the Puebla state municipalities of Calpan, Huejotzingo, Texmelucan and El Verde sought to obtain a designation of origin for the Poblano pepper, considering that historically the product originates roughly in this region. Unfortunately, until now there has been no agreement. In a presentation held this Tuesday in Puebla, the official chronicler of the municipality of Texmelucan and regional coordinator of the State Council of Chroniclers, Jesús Contreras Hernández, warned that Chinese growers could appropriate the poblano pepper as their own, El Popular reports. He stated that there are already indications that Chinese growers are looking to register the product for protection. As a result, Mexican growers could be left with no means to protect what is their agricultural heritage.
In his presentation, Contreras described the unique relation between the land of Puebla and this pepper. "The height of the region and the quality of the land in this part of the state is ripe for to the cultivation of a pepper with special characteristics that are ideal for dishes such as Chile en Nogada and Mole Poblano." he said. This special connection, he explained, means that “peppers grown elsewhere do not have the same characteristics and flavor.”
Contreras pointed out that there are already several products from China that are sold in Mexican markets and that are hard to distinguish because they can use the same names. These include peppers but also nopal, which is cultivated in Asia because of its perceived health benefits. In the case of peppers, Contreras reemphasized that there is a clear difference in quality between a Chinese product and a Mexican product. “It is not difficult to differentiate since its flavor and consistency is very different from that of the [Puebla] region. While the local pepper has a dark green and thicker skin, Chinese peppers are a shiny green with a thin skin and are less meaty.” There are different reasons for this difference in quality, he asserted, one of them being the fact that many peppers in Mexico are grown according to seasons and most are grown in a traditional or artisanal way without the use of technology.” While this contributes to the flavor and characteristics of Mexico-grown peppers, it also means a commercial disadvantage against Chinese growers that may be using advanced technologies not only to grow bigger and faster, but also to grow out of season.
Concluding the presentation, Contreras called upon the general public to consume peppers grown in Mexico, not just for the better flavor and consistency, but also because it generates economic resources for local communities. The presentation came at a time when the season for the Chile en Nogada, an iconic Mexican dish, is about to commence.