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Principal supplier of barley to the Mexican beer industry joins MasAgro

On 12 July 2012, Impulsora Agrícola, a company dedicated to promoting and improving the cultivation of malt barley, signed a coordination agreement with CIMMYT to adopt MasAgro’s working model. This partnership shall take effect mainly within the Bajío area (Guanajuato and Querétaro), in the highlands (Estado de México, Hidalgo, Puebla, and Tlaxcala) and Zacatecas, where most of the malt barley consumed by Mexico’s beer industry is produced.

During the ceremony, the Director General of Impulsora Agrícola, Carlos Pérez Castañeda, stated that thanks to this agreement, MasAgro shall have an effect on 20,000 producers who harvest around 600,000 tons of barley a year, covering an area of 300,000 hectares. Pérez Castañeda added that the total production is sold, under contract, to the Mexican beer industry for nearly 2.5 billion pesos (approximately 2 billion dollars).

Bram Govaerts, head of MasAgro’s component Take it to the Farmer explained that the aim of the partnership is to increase the number of “driving centers” or platforms operating under the leadership of the producers, with funding from Trust Funds for Rural Development (FIRA in Spanish) and Impulsora AgrĂ­cola, backed by MasAgro and state governments.

Govaerts also mentioned that 280 producers had received training through the MasAgro–Driving Center platforms, and that a total of 3,370 barley producers had assisted in demonstration days organized by the “driving centers” in Hidalgo, Tlaxcala and Guanajuato. As a result, the principles of agricultural conservation and precision agriculture techniques are now being adopted in 3,964 hectares dedicated to the production of malt barley.

The event was presided over by Mexican Minister for Agriculture, Francisco Mayorga Castañeda, who estimated that MasAgro would benefit from nearly 50,000 barley producers. The Minister of SAGARPA took the opportunity to refer to the acknowledgment that MasAgro received from the G20 Agriculture Group, who cited the project as a model to follow in developing research, innovation and transfer technology, as well as in coordinating public-private partnerships in the agri-food sector. Mayorga Castañeda confirmed that for this reason, MasAgro would be discussed at the next meeting of leading agricultural scientists, which is due to be organized by the current G20 Mexican Presidency next September.