Made in Quin­tana Roo

The Playa Times Riviera Maya's English Newspaper - - >editorial - BY BEATRIZ LU­CAS

The news is spread­ing that Mexico is emerg­ing as a lead­ing econ­omy for Latin Amer­i­can coun­tries, tak­ing the crown from Brazil, all thanks to im­prove­ments in safety, man­u­fac­tur­ing mar­kets, ex­ports and more. De­spite the con­stant pres­sure of ur­ban­iza­tion, tra­di­tional agri­cul­ture has sur­vived in Mexico thanks to farmer in­no­va­tion and adap­ta­tion. On a re­gional level, the bal­ance now needs to be struck be­tween the grow­ing pop­u­la­tion and ef­fi­cient re­source man­age­ment.

Since 2000, Mexico’s gov­ern­ment has in­creased its sup­port to agri­cul­ture, with the aim of pro­tect­ing the ecosys­tem ser­vices of ru­ral and sub­ur­ban ar­eas that pro­vide to cities, en­sur­ing a lo­cal food sup­ply.

In 2007, the Sec­re­tar­iat for Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment and Eq­uity for Com­mu­ni­ties (SEDEREC) was cre­ated to pro­mote tra­di­tional food pro­duc­tion free of pes­ti­cides. It also in­cluded a pro­gram for ru­ral de­vel­op­ment that im­proved plan­ning, tech­nol­ogy, and mar­ket­ing.

Added to this the re­gional pro­gram es­tab­lished in 2014, He­cho en Quin­tana Roo (Made in Quin­tana Roo) has al­ready gained a rep­utable spot on su­per­mar­ket shelves.

There is sci­en­tific ev­i­dence that small-scale farm­ing in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries is more ef­fi­cient, mostly be­cause small pro­duc­ers put more ef­fort in the pre­cise man­age­ment of their ar­eas of land. The con­cept that in­ten­sive farm­ing is cheap is a fal­lacy - once you in­cor­po­rate the health and en­vi­ron­men­tal costs, small-scale agri­cul­ture is a su­pe­rior sys­tem.

The chal­lenge for Quin­tana Roo for the com­ing decade will be to man­age the large-scale ur­ban­iza­tion ef­fi­ciently, meet the de­mands of the re­gional pop­u­la­tion and re­duce the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact of the re­gion - the cen­tral pull of tourists and na­tion­als alike.

The reg­is­tered pop­u­la­tion of Quin­tana Roo is 1.5 mil­lion. From this to­tal, 430,000 are un­der 15 years old, and over one mil­lion peo­ple are ac­tive mem­bers of so­ci­ety; with­out tak­ing into ac­count the con­stant in­flux of tourists. In 2008, the Riviera Maya even re­ceived the ac­co­lade from the Guin­ness World Record for be­ing one of the fastest grow­ing re­gions, a trend that has not shown any signs of slow­ing down since.

There are a lot of mouths to feed in the state. As con­sumers, it is im­por­tant that we keep a watch­ful eye on the stew­ard­ship of the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment while pro­mot­ing an eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment model that pro­tects this priv­i­leged land­scape.

You can play an im­por­tant role in safe­guard­ing this area. Start by re­quest­ing lo­cal pro­duce in your ho­tels, stores, and restau­rants. Look for the He­cho en Quin­tana Roo so that when you come back to visit the re­gion in ten year’s time, you will still be able to en­joy all the bounty of par­adise, from the land­scapes to the flavours.

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