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Achieving Mexico’s Maize Potential

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  • Antonio Turrent Fernández
  • Timothy A. Wise
  • Elise Garvey

Abstract

Rising agricultural prices, combined with growing import dependence, have driven Mexico’s food import bill over $20 billion per year and increased its agricultural trade deficit. Mexico imports one-third of its maize, overwhelmingly from the United States, but three million producers grow most of the country’s white maize, which is used primarily for tortillas and many other pluricultural products for human consumption. Yield gaps are large among the country’s small to medium-scale maize farmers, with productivity estimated at just 57% of potential. To what extent could Mexico close this yield gap, using proven technologies currently employed in the country, to regain its lost self-sufficiency in maize? A comprehensive review of the literature highlights the potential for achieving that goal. With a new government coming to power in Mexico, policy options are examined, identifying those most likely to increase both maize productivity and sustainable resource use while reducing import dependence. With climate change likely to constrain input-intensive agricultural productivity growth, these involve an emphasis on farmer-led extension services, the promotion of sustainable agricultural practices, and improved water management, including expanded irrigation.

Suggested Citation

  • Antonio Turrent Fernández & Timothy A. Wise & Elise Garvey, 2012. "Achieving Mexico’s Maize Potential," GDAE Working Papers 12-03, GDAE, Tufts University.
  • Handle: RePEc:dae:daepap:12-03
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    File URL: http://www.ase.tufts.edu/gdae/Pubs/wp/12-03TurrentMexMaize.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bellon, Mauricio R. & Adato, Michelle & Becerril, Javier & Mindek, Dubravka, 2006. "Poor farmers' perceived benefits from different types of maize germplasm: The case of creolization in lowland tropical Mexico," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 113-129, January.
    2. Nelson, Gerald C. & Rosegrant, Mark W. & Koo, Jawoo & Robertson, Richard & Sulser, Timothy & Zhu, Tingju & Ringler, Claudia & Msangi, Siwa & Palazzo, Amanda & Batka, Miroslav & Magalhaes, Marilia & Va, 2009. "Climate change: Impact on agriculture and costs of adaptation," Food policy reports 21, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Fan, Shenggen, 2008. "Public expenditures, growth, and poverty in developing countries: Lessons from developing countries," Issue briefs 51, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Timothy A. Wise, 2012. "The Cost to Mexico of U.S. Corn Ethanol Expansion," GDAE Working Papers 12-01, GDAE, Tufts University.
    5. Bellon, Mauricio R. & Adato, Michelle & Becerril, Javier & Mindek, Dubravka, 2003. "The impact of improved maize germplasm on poverty alleviation," FCND discussion papers 162, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Antonio Turrent Fernández & Timothy A. Wise & Elise Garvey, 2012. "Achieving Mexico’s Maize Potential," GDAE Working Papers 12-03, GDAE, Tufts University.
    7. World Bank, 2012. "Agricultural Innovation Systems : An Investment Sourcebook
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    8. Nelson, J.A., 2013. "Ethics and the economist: What climate change demands of us," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 145-154.
    9. World Bank, 2005. "Agriculture Investment Sourcebook," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7308.
    10. Bellon, Mauricio R. & Risopoulos, Jean, 2001. "Small-Scale Farmers Expand the Benefits of Improved Maize Germplasm: A Case Study from Chiapas, Mexico," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 799-811, May.
    11. Nelson, Gerald C. & Rosegrant, Mark W. & Palazzo, Amanda & Gray, Ian & Ingersoll, Christina & Robertson, Richard & Tokgoz, Simla & Zhu, Tingju & Sulser, Timothy B. & Ringler, Claudia & Msangi, Siwa & , 2010. "Food security, farming, and climate change to 2050: Scenarios, results, policy options," Research reports Gerald C. Nelson, et al., International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    12. Hertel, Thomas & Burke, Marshall & Lobell, David, 2010. "The Poverty Implications of Climate-Induced Crop Yield Changes by 2030," GTAP Working Papers 3196, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
    13. Timothy A. Wise, "undated". "09-08 "Agricultural Dumping Under NAFTA: Estimating the Costs of U.S. Agricultural Policies to Mexican Producers"," GDAE Working Papers 09-08, GDAE, Tufts University.
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    1. Antonio Turrent Fernández & Timothy A. Wise & Elise Garvey, 2012. "Achieving Mexico’s Maize Potential," GDAE Working Papers 12-03, GDAE, Tufts University.

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