Collaboration Needed to Improve Mexican Food Production, Quality
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Collaboration Needed to Improve Mexican Food Production, Quality

Photo by:   Fernando Casillas
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By Fernando Casillas - Syngenta Semillas
Business Unit Head Syngenta Seeds LAN

STORY INLINE POST

For the agro-industry, Mexico is a strategic market in Latin America, with corn being its main production crop. The country is the third-biggest corn market in the region and the seventh-largest corn producer worldwide, with annual production of 27 million tons. 

According to information from Mexico’s Food and Fisheries Information Service (SIAP, 2021), between 2020 and 2021, around 10 million hectares of basic seeds (corn, bean, wheat and rice) were sowed and 76 percent of this area was assigned to corn. It is important to point out that the production of white corn is addressed for human consumption while yellow corn is used by the industry, mainly as food for livestock. 

Currently, producers face different challenges, including the constant pressure from climate change, workforce shortages, demand to produce more from the same territorial extension, cost increases and the growing population that requires more food. To meet these challenges, it is important for  farmers, the private sector, decentralized bodies and without doubt, the government, to collaborate and promote Mexican farming. 

Support for producers in our country has been a long road but the fruits have been harvested. Evidence of this is that Grupo Consultor de Mercados Agrícola (GCMA) made known that the national average performance of corn has improved, reaching 3.8 tons per hectare. This has been possible thanks to different solutions deployed in the field; however, there is still a long path to achieve the median of 11.5 tons per hectare in Sinaloa state. To accomplish a reduction in the gap requires the promotion of more joint actions. 

One  is the deployment of new technologies that provide benefits to producers. Quoting again GCMA, the organism urged to promote the use of certified upgraded seeds, there is a need to deploy crop protection packages that guarantee increased production, competitive financing models, better irrigation infrastructure, more technical assistance and the availability of insurance, among others. 

Agricultural companies play an important role in this chain, as we owe ourselves to them. Every time we travel the roadways in our country and we see a corn field along the way, we should reflect on what the farmer is contributing to our lives, as probably one-third of the food that is on our table comes from a similar field, the clothes we wear possibly use material composed of some crop, such as cotton, and surely the components of our more daily objects like paper and chewing gum come from corn. That is why companies should offer farmers appropriate, local solutions and at the same speed in which the current circumstances demand. This industry is not different from others in many aspects, except that within it, our role is to contribute to feeding the world. Now more than ever, consumers demand healthier food as well as agricultural methods that are responsible and respectful of the environment; therefore, each one of the key actors in the industry needs  to be part of the solution. 

At Syngenta Seeds, we are aware that all our efforts must be centered on farmers’ needs, and we recognize that the first decision to produce quality corn is the selection of the seed. With this in mind, we focus our forces on research and development. We have three research centers located in Puerto Vallarta and Poncitlán, Jalisco, and Los Mochis, Sinaloa, that support the development of corn hybrids to increase the median tons per hectare, contributing to food security. In our centers, we also carry out corn research programs for Latin America, Europe and North America, employing around 500 people, in addition to collaborating actively with organisms like the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). On the other hand, we also develop agricultural practices and recommendations to transfer our knowledge and technology to farmers, and in this way, they can improve their productivity. Finally, we also focus on supporting agriculture by developing sustainable practices. An example of that is the EMAV (High Value Corn Silage) program, through which we provide technical support and expertise to produce food of better quality for livestock to increase milk and meat production. In summary, we focus on developing seed, service and sustainable practices that support corn farmers and help them be more productive. 

All our efforts at Syngenta have the objective to develop solutions that support producers and together face these challenges. This is a joint force and if we remain united and collaborate with corn farmers, our results will  ensure better food for Mexico and the world. 

References: 

Reyes Santiago, E., Bautista Mayorga, F., & García Salazar, J. A. (2022). Análisis del Mercado de maíz en México desde una perspectiva de precios. Acta Universitaria, 32, 1–16. https://doi.org/10.15174/au.2022.3265 

GCMA: Cosecha de maíz por hectárea en México, 35% debajo de la media mundial.  

Photo by:   Fernando Casillas

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