SEGALMEX and the Guaranteed Food SupplyBy Jan Hogewoning | Wed, 04/01/2020 - 11:46
Last week, Minister of Economy Graciela Márquez called for the population to avoid panic purchases, reassuring that the warehouses of DICONSA and LICONSA have a guaranteed food and dairy supply for at least 100 days. This may give a sense of security. However, many Mexican and non-Mexican nationals may be wondering what these two entities are. More so, because the current government restructured this system last year, placing both entities under the newly created SEGALMEX, which stands for Seguridad Alimentaria Mexicana (Mexican Food Security). This entity falls under the direction of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER).
SEGALMEX has been the key agency of Lopez Obrador’s effort to guaranteeing prices for a range of agricultural products for medium to small farmers. This entity also runs the fertilizer program, which aims to provide fertilizers to thousands of farmers at favorable rates. Another obligation it has is the provision of food to marginalized communities, which is where DICONSA and LICONSA participate.
There are 25,000 DICONSA and 3,600 LICONSA stores across de country, supported by a network of 300 warehouses in rural and urban areas. SEGALMEX makes bulk purchases of food and other items deemed basic necessities and distributes them to these stores. DICONSA stores sell food and basic household items including corn, wheat, rice, beans, tuna, oil, coffee, soup vermicelli, as well as toilet paper, soap and cleaning liquids. LICONSA provides milk, in liquid and powder form. The stores are run by local communities, who have to apply and qualify to open a store in their locality. The customer in turn, needs to have a license to buy at these stores. To qualify you must fall in one of the following categories: a child up to the age of 12, an adolescent up to the age of 15, a pregnant woman, a person with disabilities, a person with a medical condition or an elderly person. López Obrador has stated that his intention is to provide 36 basic food products through this program.
On March 30, head of SEGALMEX Ignacio Ovalle Fernández announced that SEGALMEX had made a mass purchase of 20 different foods and other items to ensure their supply. This also included sanitary products like sanitizer, mouth masks and gloves. While the DICONSA and LICONSA stores are primarily meant for specific population segments, the government has referenced these stocked warehouses as a way to fill demand of the markets catering to the general population in case of shortages.