By KELIN DILLON
Thanks to a nasty freeze in the north of Mexico at the beginning of the year (which brought a whole lot of other trouble along with it) and a long-lasting countrywide drought, more than 360,000 hectares of Mexico’s crop output were ruined in the first six months of 2021, approximately four times the amount lost in the same period the previous year.
According to the Secretariat of Agriculture and Rural Development (Sader), the damage represents 4.3 percent of the total 8.4 million hectares of crops sown that same agricultural year. In the years 2018, 2019 and 2020, the damage was .5 percent, .6 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively.
“It’s worrying that thousands of hectares couldn’t be sowed due to the drought problem,” said National Agricultural Council (CNA) Treasurer Francisco Chapa Góngora. “The fact that the areas were damaged is also worrying, first because of the frosts that occurred in the north of the country, and second, because of the drought, and we have just barely entered the heatwave.”
Reports across the country show states nationwide facing huge drops in crop production, including Nuevo León with a 49 percent decline, Nayarit with 24 percent drop, Coahuila with 21 percent, and Michoacán with 12 percent.
“If in less than a month the dams that irrigate the crops are not well refilled, for example, the great valleys of the Mexican northwest that exist in Sonora and Sinaloa will be forced to plant less and reduce production yields per hectare,” said Chapa Góngora. “That would have great effects on national food production and would also bring enormous problems for Mexican horticultural exports.”
Currently, Mexico’s dams stand at 21.9 percent of their potential capacity, with 57.2 percent less water available for agriculture in these reserves than in the previous year.