Mexico and the Netherlands Developing Sustainable AlliancesBy Sofía Hanna | Fri, 02/12/2021 - 18:20
In a recent video conference between Mexico and the Netherlands, innovation and technology in the horticultural and floricultural sector were discussed. Víctor Villalobos Arámbula, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, led the conference together with the Netherlands’ Ambassador in Mexico, Wilfred Mohr. The objective of these sessions is to develop strategies and technologies for the southeast of Mexico.
During the meeting, some of the topics discussed included collaboration in the development of sustainable agriculture, water management systems, protection of plant varieties, export chains, research and technological innovation. These issues are of mutual interest to both nations as they seek for agriculture to evolve, according to a Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER) release.
Villalobos talked about some of the initiatives Mexico is implementing, like harvesting sargassum from the coasts of the Yucatan peninsula to be used as a fertilizer and the use and collection of rainwater, an already common practice in northern Mexico. Villalobos emphasized these innovative techniques should be “useful for communities in conditions of poverty and extreme poverty, where their implementation increases development potential.”
Mexico has become an attractive agribusiness hub because of its natural advantages. “Unlike other countries like the US and Brazil, Mexico grows crops in both the autumn-winter and spring-summer seasons … The northern part of the country has temperate weather. At the same time, the south is tropical, allowing the production of a wide variety of crops, including grains, beans, sorghum, maize, tomato, soy and tropical crops like coffee, sugarcane, mango and banana,” said the Director General of Northern Latin America of Syngenta, Javier Valdés, in an interview with MBN. Mexico’s position and capabilities in the agricultural sector could bring immense wealth of high-quality products, as well as competitive advantages against other producing countries. The challenge now is to achieve this in a sustainable way.
In an MBN article, Darinel Hererra, CEO of Exporta MX, a company based in the Netherlands dedicated to consulting and supporting Mexican companies looking to export to the EU, mentioned that Mexican farmers have gradually begun to understand and accept the rules of the European market, which primarily reflects in the professionalization of grower operations. “There are still, however, significant opportunities for cleaner and more sustainable production methods,” he said.
Another key issue to address is the country’s dependence on the US. While the bulk of production goes to the US market, there have been advances toward exploring new opportunities. “We already had our most important project for this year going: starting a much needed 12-day Express Sea Route from Veracruz to Rotterdam, which allows Mexican fruit exporters to have much better access to the European market for their fresh avocados, mangos, limes and other fruits. This had been in the pipeline for many years for Mexico, as well as the Netherlands, as other shipping options take almost twice as long as our direct route, greatly impacting fruit quality at arrival,” Lia Bijnsdorp, Managing Director of United Producers of Mexico, mentioned in an MBN interview. According to her, this new route has been difficult to promote among farmers and producers, but there is a visible path toward developing business between Mexico and the Netherlands.