Cold Weather Brings New Agro-Crises to Mexico
Monday, February 14, 2011
February’s freezing fury has left a path of crumpled crops, pummeled harvests and dashed dreams in the countryside of northern Mexico. Hardest hit was the northwestern state of Sinaloa, known as the “Bread Basket of Mexico,” where about 750,000 acres of corn crops were reportedly destroyed after unusually cold temperatures blanketed the north of the country in January and early February.
Sinaloa is among Mexico’s major producers of white corn, the variety of maize used to make staple tortillas.
Heriberto Felix Guerra, secretary of the federal Secretariat for Social Development (SEDESOL), called the weather-related losses “the worst disaster” in the history of Sinaloa.
Altogether, more than 1.5 million acres of corn, vegetable, citrus and other crops were either damaged or destroyed in Sinaloa, with a preliminary economic loss of approximately US$1 billion.
The source of about 30 percent of Mexico’s grains and vegetables, Sinaloa also exports food products to the United States.
Other northern states also experienced the widespread destruction of winter crops. In Sonora, more than 130,000 acres were reported lost, including 45 percent of the acreage planted in winter wheat. In Tamaulipas, nearly 800,000 acres in corn and sorghum were impacted, while crop losses in Chihuahua were calculated in the US$100 million ballpark.