SAN MARTIN DE HIDALGO, Mexico – Lime producers in Mexico’s Jalisco state are seeking to broaden their horizons and markets by increasing their use of technology and the safety of their crops within the framework of an agroindustrial strategy that has made the region an international “breakbasket” for assorted agricultural products.
“We want to achieve merely a quality level for export, by treating trees, (better) irrigation techniques, treating the leaves ... We’re changing over to organic production, if not 100 percent then certainly semi-organic. Working on the soil quality,” said Justo Camacho Barreto in an interview with EFE.
Camacho is the president of the Lime Product System of Jalisco, which hopes to expand its exports – which already go to Asia, Europe and Canada – to the US
“The idea is to maintain (in lime production) a quality standard to be able to ship to the US. The business is in exporting. I’ve always tried to produce quality so as not to have that problem,” Rodolfo Gerardo Ramirez Zarate, a lime producer from the town of Tepehuaje de Morelos, told EFE.
According to Mexico’s agriculture secretariat, known as Sagarpa, Jaliso ranks No. 1 in the nation in the production of assorted merchandise such as sweets, eggs, edible oil, sauces, dairy products, berries, beverages and tequila agave.
In addition, it ranks second in the production of beef, sugar cane, watermelons, green tomatoes, corn, honey and avocados, and provides 12 percent of Mexico’s GDP in the agricultural and food sector.
Some 95 lime producers are concentrated in the area of San Martin de Hidalgo with some 1,500 hectares (3,750 acres) under cultivation and they say that their product is known worldwide for its juice and acidity level.
Ramirez said that he exports 80 percent of his crop, which amounts to 10-12 tons every 40 days from 4.5 hectares of land.
Camacho is part of a network of some 60 producers who have already exported to the US and Germany, a group that has invested some $263,000 in new packaging equipment for their product.
Camacho says that over the past few weeks he has received interest from producers in Kazakhstan and Chile for Jalisco avocadoes and limes.
About 20 people can harvest six tons of limes in an eight-hour shift, earning 36 pesos ($1.89) per hour.