Value of berry production questioned in Jalisco. Environmental group questions value of berry production.

Few benefits seen in Jalisco berry farming

Not a major economic driver and it puts pressure on water supplies

The health benefits of eating blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are well-known but growing them isn’t quite as beneficial for human well-being and the economy, an environmental advocacy group argues.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Citizens’ Observatory for Integrated Water Management in Jalisco says that berry production on the Tapalpa plateau in the south of the state is less lucrative than tourism, and doesn’t provide significant employment or have a positive spillover effect on other sectors of the economy.

In addition, the pressure the industry places on the local water supply and its negative impact on water quality from its use of pesticides is indisputable, the group claims.

Observatory coordinator Juan Guillermo Márquez Gutiérrez told the newspaper Milenio that poor water quality poses a threat to the entire Lagunas region, which comprises several municipalities surrounding Tapalpa.

The organization consequently made 23 recommendations to the state government and three separate municipalities in December 2016, but more than a year later Márquez said that little progress has been made. He described authorities’ attempts to address concerns as “lukewarm.”

“In relation to the recommendations, as is usual in the state government and the [state] Environment Secretariat, there wasn’t a timely response . . .” Márquez said, adding that authorities have acted slowly on purpose because it suits them to do so.

“There are communities that are being denied water supply but the berry agro-industry still has all the water it asks for . . . the actions they [government authorities] are promoting . . . do little or nothing to help in the case of Tapalpa and the region,” he added.

ADVERTISEMENT

Márquez also argued that the industry only provides “poorly paid jobs” and doesn’t take “due precautions for the management of pesticides.” The harmful effects on health are already becoming evident, he said.

The group coordinator believes that poor water management — including inadequate waste management — and the consequent contamination may be linked to cancer cases, gastrointestinal illnesses and kidney disease that have been reported in the region.

Government documents obtained via freedom of information laws confirm that health concerns are ongoing, Márquez said.

He also pointed out that 95% of the berries grown in Tapalpa are exported to the United States where the vast majority of profits remain.

Meanwhile, local residents are left to pay the greatest price because they are exposed to health risks from contaminated water and jornaleros, or day laborers, are exploited economically by low wages.

“. . . It’s worth considering how much the region and the state benefits . . .” Márquez said, adding that “drawing attention to this [problem] is urgent.”

“The magnitude of the pressure on the environment and health, on people and ecosystems — which is more than obvious — is going to result in a high degree of damage,” he added.

By the end of this week, the Observatory is expected to issue a new series of recommendations and will insist that authorities respond to its previous recommendations, arguing that they are legally required to do so.

The overexploitation of ground wells, aging and failing water infrastructure and a lack of transparency regarding what kinds of pesticides the agro-industry is using and their effects on the environment are all issues of concern that the Citizen Observatory will seek to address in its new advice.

Source: Milenio (sp)

Stories from our archives that you might enjoy

  • jdwfinger

    you have to remember that this is a perfect industry for stealing money, laundering money, and keeping the peasants in their place.

    • David Nichols

      I don’t understand how this industry qualifies as “perfect for stealing money, laundering money and keeping the peasants in their place”…?
      If 95% of the crop is exported, then all but 5% of the growers income is directly reported to SAT by Aduana…that doesn’t leave much wiggle room for the money crimes you list…
      As to the low wages paid to the workers, this industry is hardly unique in that regard, and the berry growers part in the problem of low wages is miniscule compared to most worker intensive industries in Mexico…

  • CensorSheep

    just put another 29 OXXOs and fugget about it, Jumex is made 100% from natural concentrate – screw the berries!

  • WestCoastHwy

    The Citizens’ Observatory for Integrated Water Management, what a bunch of YAHOOS! Ever heard of hydroponics? What a bunch of meatheads; you can count exponential ways to produce, especially with all those greenhouses just sitting there but Mexicans always count the ways why they can’t. (Mexican’ts).

    • Mike S

      Has it ever occurred to that your pathological endless hatred of everything Mexican is a sick syndrome in need of treatment? Say something good once and a while. You are an angry neurotic old man. Put the cork back in the bottle…you’re getting boring.

      • jdwfinger

        there is many, many things positive about Mexico. But there is no aspect in their life and culture and business and politics that people don’t steal, and take bribes. This happens to the smallest town where the roads are dirt to the highest levels of government.
        I know that tomorrow the sun will rise and Mexicans will steal from each other and take bribes.
        This doesn’t take into account the corruption that is more important than religion.

        • Mike S

          I think that is an exaggeration but you are right- there is a lot of stealing and bribing going on and that has been true for a hundred years.. The corrupting influence of $40 billion in cash in more recent years flowing south through the criminal drug cartels has taken corruption to a new high in Mx. Before we consider ourselves so pure, we should examine our own corruption which is mostly done at a higher level and bigger scale by Big Banks, Hedge funds, Big Pharma, Wall Street, defense contractors, etc. Our criminals don’t dirty their hands with envelopes of cash. After the $10 trillion 2008 economic meltdown, not one person went to jail. You don’t get a country where one tenth of one percent own 50% of the wealth without corruption. Senators like Dianne Feinstein and others became billionaires while “serving the public”. A president and Big Oil lying us into a $3 trillion war…no problem. And the GOP new tax bill:…Grand Theft Auto on steroids.

          • G.b. Adams

            How did US corruption get into this conversation? Over 90% of Congress gets reelected each cycle…Don’t like the corruption the US? The problem is right their in the mirror!

          • Mike S

            I agree with you about Congress. With the “Citizens United” SC ruling, unlimited campaign financing by anonymous donors has totally corrupted democracy in the US and that leads to favoritism pushed by lobbyists on government rules and tax codes and how that money is spent. Many posters on this English news site are Americans who like to take a superior attitude and put down Mx without ever considering what is happening in the US. There is lots of criticism to go around on both sides of the border. A higher economic standard of living does not necessarily mean higher integrity or a better quality of life. Mexico is going through tough times right now with the cartel wars. Imagine the tourism growth and business investment in Mx if there was no US market for hard drugs and the country hadn’t been flowed with guns.

          • Anthony Stein

            And you wait? This president of you gringos has just shifted your country down to shithole status!

      • WestCoastHwy

        Thank you, I will make a note!

  • kallen

    Just about everything humans do has a negative impact to ourselves or our planet so what is the solution? Focus on the negative? Why not try a different approach: In this case try grey water and natural predators that eat the pests (like Lady bugs) thereby circumventing pesticides. Nothing has to be black and white. I partly fault the press here for only focusing on the negative and I partly fault the government for not espousing alternative tactics. Problems are opportunities.

FreeCurrencyRates.com
ADVERTISEMENT