By: MP News Staff
As of January 1, 2008, the 15-year import protection plan put in place by NAFTA is expired. When the North American Free Trade Agreement was negotiated in 1993, Mexico’s ancestral crops of corn, beans sugar and milk were granted special protection. This protection clause was put in place to prepare Mexico for competition, but unfortunately, that may not be the case. Prices for these commodities are booming on a global level, but Mexico farmers work on small parcels that tend to produce very low yields of crops. That said, the worldwide high prices haven’t filtered down to the masses and the entire effort hasn’t improved the lives of those who depend on farming to survive. So what are those families to do? The hope of a better life calls in America.
Those who do have larger farms are facing challenges with storage and being able to get their crops to market. According to an article in the Washington Times, “The Mexican government has allowed state purchasing agencies, granaries and distribution networks to wither, preferring instead to rely on market forces. Mexico has also been slow to modernize to take advantage of ethanol demands and genetically modified crops.” The article further states that, “Such efforts to build agricultural cooperatives-similar to the Grange halls and dairy coopertives formed in the U.S. in the 1800s and 1900s – may be key to Mexican farmers’ survival.”
In the big picture, that all makes good sense and sounds like a grand plan, but that’s a tall order on a long list of things that need to be accomplished to better things for the Mexican people In the short run, this will only escalate the numbers of farmers trying to find a way to the United States to find better work. And so the circle continues.