Among the main problems faced by producers in the Mexican countryside, the high costs of inputs and services stand out, according to 82.0% of the farmers surveyed in the INEGI 2022 Agricultural Census.
Climatic factors followed, with 64.5%; drop in prices or decrease in sales due to the pandemic, with 37.2%; biological factors, 37%; loss of soil fertility, 27.6%; and insecurity, 21.0%.
In terms of insecurity, among the entities that reported the highest rates of affectation in agricultural production are Mexico City, with 53.5%; Tlaxcala, 49.7%; Tabasco, 47.5%; Aguascalientes, 44.6%; Baja California, 34.5%; and the State of Mexico, 34.1%.
After 15 years in which the Agricultural Census had not been carried out, mainly due to the lack of budget for its realization, this Wednesday its first results were presented, which cover the agricultural year between October 2021 and September 2022.
Agricultural production is distributed in just over 5 million production units, whose extension reaches 32.1 million hectares, which would be the equivalent of four times the area of Panama or two and a half times the size of Greece, announced Graciela Márquez, president of the Inegi.
Source: National Agricultural Census 2022, Inegi
He said that the production units make up a broad mosaic made up mostly of micro, small and medium producers.
The 2022 Agricultural Census indicates that the workforce employed in agricultural activities reached 27.5 million people, of which 22.8 million were men.
These figures include the 16.1 million jobs created for agricultural day laborers employed in the various farm tasks and who, for the most part, are working informally without the legal benefits.
Of the 32.1 million hectares, 26 million correspond to active agricultural production units, of which 20.5 million were planted, while the rest were in rest, explained Arturo Blancas, general director of Economic Statistics.
“If we compare this with other areas, it is interesting that it is a little more than 10% of the national territory, that is, 10% of the planted area feeds the entire Mexican population, not counting imports,” he said.
Compared to other countries, there are those who have more activity in agricultural production, such as Argentina with a rate of 12%, European countries with around 30% and the United States with 17%, added Arturo Blancas.
Among the states with the highest proportion of active agricultural area are Veracruz, Jalisco, Chihuahua, Chiapas, Tamaulipas, Zacatecas and Michoacán; and among those with less are Querétaro, Colima, Baja California, Aguascalientes and Mexico City, which is a more urban area.
Comparing the average area per production unit, in 2007 this relationship was 7.7 hectares per unit and now, although there are more units, the area for agricultural use is smaller, with an average size of 5.9 hectares, which shows an important atomization in the field, highlighted Blancas.
However, he clarified that this does not happen in the same way throughout the national territory. For example, in Mexico City, the State of Mexico, Puebla, Tlaxcala, Hidalgo, Morelos and Oaxaca, 80% of their production units have less than 5 hectares, while in Tamaulipas, Zacatecas, Sinaloa, Baja California, Nuevo León and Sonora, more than 60% of the units have more than 5 hectares.
“The Mexican countryside is a source of food security, wealth, and jobs, but it is also a repository of identities, traditions, and artistic expressions,” said Márquez.
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