Mexican Agriculture Embraces SustainabilityBy Sofía Hanna | Thu, 06/24/2021 - 11:44
The shift towards more conscious and sustainable practices is gaining speed in Mexico’s agricultural sector, but new methods are necessary for the sector to develop further and support the eradication of poverty.
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- The Mexican Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER) has been developing more and more strategies to eradicate poverty through food security. Víctor Villalobos Arámbula, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said in an official statement that food security plays a predominant role in national security. SADER is now developing strategies that address problems such as migration, insecurity and violence from the root while hoping that the solution will lead to opportunities and equity in the countryside and fisheries. Food security plays an essential role in these strategies and in national security and in future development opportunities, he added. This is not an effort made by the Ministry alone; the Mexican government also announced that it will try to get millions of Mexicans out of poverty during this administration to build a new type of middle class in which there will no longer be maximum levels of poverty.
- The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) announced that more viable irrigation options are being sought due to the high level of drought in Mexico. One of these is drip irrigation, which allows greater water savings and improves efficiency in the use of water through Conservation Agriculture and other associated sustainable practices. This measure contributes to the sustainable use of this scarce resource. Adapting this practice and new field technologies could increase returns to 6.5 tons per hectare, while providing larger water savings per lot. These initiatives are part of the Cultivating a Better Mexico project, which seeks to ensure that more producers and societies are benefitted by these technologies.
- The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and Mexico are seeking to put innovation and knowledge first in a new model for fair and sustainable agriculture development. The FAO report mentions that "Mexico, in its current transformation process, seeks to correct the multiple imbalances that slow down its economic development and fight poverty, economic inequality and corruption," said Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Víctor Villalobos Arámbula. He also mentioned that the Ministry is aware of how imperfect the economic models of the past were and that those limitations were evidenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. For that reason, it is necessary to use knowledge, technology and innovation to advance towards a new model for fair and sustainable development, he added.
- CIMMYT discussed the importance of sustainable agriculture in the resilience of the agri-food sector. The need for sustainable agriculture comes from the degradation of ecosystems and the widespread misuse of current practices. About 52 percent of the world’s agricultural soil is moderately or severely degraded, warned the organization, which directly affects 74 percent of the population living in poverty. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the primary sector is responsible for 23 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, agriculture represents 70 percent of the water extracted globally, which is why implementing sustainable practices is so necessary. Among the practices promoted "is the monitoring of suitable sowing dates, the alternation of corn with suitable crops, minimal tillage, minimal soil movement, incorporation of residues from the previous crop (stubble) to conserve moisture and avoid soil erosion, the application of comprehensive fertilization strategies to give the plant the amounts of nutrients it requires, the modernization of irrigation, the control of pests and diseases based on beneficial microorganisms and agroecological approaches, the use of optimal doses and suitable applications for chemical control, as well as the incorporation of strategies for the management of biodiversity at the plot level, such as living barriers and the hosts of beneficial insects,” indicates the IPCC.