Can the Mayan Train Be a Catalyst for Agriculture in Yucatan?By Daniel González | Fri, 07/10/2020 - 12:46
The Mayan Train, one of the great projects of President López Obrador´s administration, was born as a catalyst for a region, Yucatan, whose tourism model shows signs of weariness. Competition from other Latin American destinations and COVID-19 have put the tourism industry in a difficult position for a region that comprises five states: Chiapas, Campeche, Quintana Roo, Tabasco and Yucatan. However, according to Rogelio Jiménez, Director General of the National Fund for Tourism Development (FONATUR), the Mayan Train can also be a catalyst for agriculture and the food industry in the region, one of the weakest in the country. “President López Obrador always spoke of a train that in its first stage would be closely related to tourism, but at its core is an integral development project that affects all sectors and fundamentally the agri-food sector,” said Jiménez, during the forum 'Initiatives for the Articulation of Production in the Agri-Food Sector Around the Mayan Train'.
The maximum representative of FONATUR added that the Mayan Train will transport 5.5 tons of food and agricultural products in 2023, which will allow the population to offer added value to their production, something that in turn will help diversify an economy focused on tourism. The Mayan Train will allow for the safe transportation of 14 products (corn, sugarcane, bananas, cocoa, lemons, palm oil, green chilies, papaya, beef and pork, honey, octopus and shrimp). To this end, the federal government plans to build a logistical structure that will allow for smooth transportation, including cold storage and collection centers along the route.
According to INEGI, in four of the five states through which the Mayan Train will run (Campeche, Chiapas, Tabasco and Yucatan) the agricultural sector has more impact on the GDP than tourism, which gives an idea of the importance of this project in agricultural terms. However, in Quintana Roo, the presence of agricultural activity is residual compared to the secondary and tertiary sectors, since it only represents 0.8 percent of the state’s GDP. Sugar cane, corn, pineapple, cucumber and Persian lemon are the main products exported by Quintana Roo, a state that continues to seek a balance between the exploitation of natural resources and environmental protection. According to Eduardo Piquero, Director of Mexico CO2, the Mexican Stock Exchange (BMV) platform for creating environmental markets, tourism and agriculture will be the Mexican industrial sectors most affected by climate change.