FAS: Mexican 'protected' tomato production growing 13% per year

06/22/2012 04:11:00 PM
Tom Karst

According to the Secretariat of Agriculture (SAGARPA) there are about 20,000 hectares under protected agriculture, with 12,000 ha of greenhouse type and 8,000 ha of shade-house and macro-tunnel type.

The state of Sinaloa accounts for 22%, Baja California 14%, Baja California Sur 12%, and Jalisco 10% of protected agriculture. The main horticultural products produced under this technology are tomato (70%), bell pepper (16%), cucumber (10%), and the rest are products like flowers, chili peppers, strawberries and papaya.

In Sinaloa (a winter-cycle tomato producing state) there are about 15,000 ha devoted to tomatoes of which approximately 2,000 ha are under protected production.

About 80% of these hectares are under shade-house operations as the climate is generally too hot for greenhouse technology. Due to strong returns, production has trended towards increased use of shade-houses, mainly for products destined for the export market.

Growers, however, indicate that combining open field and shade-house production has been useful for marketing their product. Sources point out that less than ideal levels of agricultural sophistication (i.e., lack of established marketing channels, insufficient capital, and ability to manage weather events), means that sometimes growers abandon protected facilities.

Through a recent study in 2010/11, the Mexican Association of Protected Horticulture (AMHPAC) found that of the approximately 9,000 ha of greenhouses existing in the northern states of Sinaloa, Sonora, Baja California Norte, and Baja California Sur, 30 percent were not operating. During the October to May winter season, Sinaloa growers are the main producers and exporters of fresh tomatoes.


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