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Climate Change Wallops Mexico’s Corn Production

Climate change seems to have made a significant mark on Mexico's ability to produce the corn crops – a sign that things could get even worse.
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Corn is one of Mexico’s main agricultural products. While the country isn’t close to the top of the rankings for global producers, it does rely heavily on its corn production. It’s a source of food and an income generator for the State.

Sadly for the Latin American country, however, climate change seems to have made a significant mark on its ability to produce the crop – a sign that things could get even worse.

Raising Temperatures Have Made Corn Impossible to Grow

Earlier this week, VOA News reported that the soil on farmlands across Mexico has severely deteriorated, with climate change causing lands to dry up and crop production to be much more difficult.

Speaking with the news source, Sol Ortiz, the director of the climate change group at the country’s agriculture ministry, explained that up to 75 percent of the country’s soil has become uninhabitable for crop growth. As he pointed out, areas such as Tehuacan (an agricultural; hotspot that is located in central Mexico) have been hit with severe temperature rises as the effects of climate have raged on, and have now become too dry for farmers to work.

Guadlupe holds corn grains at her house in Tepeteopan, state of Puebla, Mexico February 18, 2020. (REUTERS/Carlos Jasso)

Even more ominous, he explained that things could also get worse for the country. “We know there are areas where the increase is going to be greater. That will affect rain patterns, and in turn, agriculture and food security,” he explained.

NOA News further explained that the area under corn cultivation in Tehuacan has decreased by a concerning 18 percent between 2015and 2019, measuring about 40,000 hectares. Nationally, however, that number has dropped by 4 percent in the same period. As of last year, that land now measures just 7.4 million hectares.

The news medium explained that farmers in Tehuacan had been walloped by climate change. Puebla, the state where Tehuacan is located, reportedly had an average temperature high of 26.8 degrees Celsius last year. This made 2019 its hottest on record and marking a 2.1-degree increase from the numbers recorded in 1985, when recording started.

The effects have been nothing short of devastating, especially for a country that produces and exports most of its corn. Statistics have shown that Mexico’s corn exports have consistently fallen since 2016, with 2019’s figures marking a 2.51 percent drop from the levels achieved the previous year.

Global Crop Production Yields are Slumping

This has forced several farmers to make some pivotal changes to the way they work – some have changed their farming processes, while others have been forced to rely on other crops that can withstand the harsh weather.

As expected, Mexico’s food production isn’t the only one being affected by rising temperatures. Last year, an article published on Green Biz chronicled research conducted by scientists at the institute on the Environment at the Minnesota University, which sought to understand climate change’s effects on global food production.

According to the article, the scientists had collected crop productivity from around the world, with a focus on the top crops that provide consumable food calories- corn, rice, wheat, soybeans, oil palm, sugar cane, barley, rapeseed, cassava, and sorghum. At the end of their study, the researchers concluded that while climate change hadn’t caused a decrease in across the board, it had dealt a significant blow to global crop yields on a holistic level.

The researchers also explained that poorer countries might be at a higher risk of food shortages than first-world countries, as they don’t have the purchasing power to mitigate their production shortages with importations.

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Hollie Carter

Hollie is a life-long gardener, having started helping her Dad work on their yard when she was just 5. Since then she has gone on to develop a passion for growing vegetables & fruit in her garden. She has an affinity with nature and loves to share her knowledge gained over a lifetime with readers online. Hollie has written for a number of publications and is now the resident garden blogger here at GardenBeast. Contact her at hollie@gardenbeast.com or follow on twitter https://twitter.com/greenholliec

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