Protecting Producers, Animals, Soil for a Better Agri-FutureBy Sofía Hanna | Thu, 07/22/2021 - 17:15
This week, new advances towards financial inclusion came in the shape of a mobile application for farmers that aims to help them sell products. Also, Mexico experienced its highest trade balance surplus in 29 years. The Mexican government is giving special attention to the protection of the Vaquita Marina, given recent events that further endangered the species. Finally, the CIMMYT warned farmers and consumers to preserve their soil to avoid more dust storms.
Interested in more? Here are the week’s major headlines in Agribusiness & Food!
- Mexico has been working the market and financial inclusion of farmers by boosting direct trade between producers and buyers. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER) launched AgroOferta, an interactive mobile application that provides first-hand information on agricultural and fishery products in the country. This initiative uses data from the National Agricultural Survey, which showed that more than 50 percent of producers sell their products to intermediaries. This project was feasible because at least 40 percent of production units have access to digital equipment, such as cell phones or computers. AgroOferta responds to the need of producers to offer their products at a virtual market with simple and accessible management. Víctor Villalobos Arámbula, Minister of SADER, explained that this measure allows for the development of a direct and fair market. The National Agricultural Council (CNA) president, Juan Cortina Gallardo, added that the application allows buyers and producers in the country to have better communication to streamline supply chains. These measures are expected to make direct trade more efficient and allow Mexico to remain an essential player in producing and exporting food, an activity that generates jobs, foreign exchange and welfare for the country’s rural sector.
- SADER’s latest trade balance report indicated that Mexico’s agricultural and food trade balance between January and May 2021 surpassed US$4 billion. That period, the country exported US$18.72 billion in agricultural and agro-industrial products and imported US$14.49 billion. This is the highest surplus registered in the last 29 years of agri-food exports. The products with the highest demand abroad were beer, avocado, tequila, mezcal, tomato and pepper. Agro-industrial products that grew the most in exports were meat and poultry offal with 156.4 percent, soybean oil with 75.4 percent, soups, stews or broths with 55 percent, waters and soft drinks with 44.2 percent, frozen orange juice with 40.8 percent, tequila and mezcal with 30.6 percent and malt beer with 29.9 percent.
- The Mexican government and SADER reinforced the protection granted to the Vaquita Marina by taking severe coercive measures against those who violate the law and discouraging illegal fishing activities. This action came after civil organizations, specialists and agencies of the US Government warned that the new rules for fishing in the northern Gulf of California would lead to the extinction of the vaquita porpoise.
- The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) issued further warnings regarding inappropriate agricultural practices during the extensive drought the country faces. The center argue that these practices once led to one of the greatest ecological catastrophes in history: “the dust storms.” The center urged for the implementation of protective measures to prevent soil erosion. “This is one of the worst ecological disasters of the modern era and it is a phenomenon that occurs as a consequence of years of inappropriate agricultural practices, overexploitation of soils and extensive drought,” the article says.