The multi-million investment made over the past 10 years by the State's Government in the municipalities of Felipe Carrillo Puerto and José María Morelos, could be lost, given the fact that the company Hidroponía Maya has gone out of business, reported Emilio Alamilla Miss,a representative of the 80 greenhouses built in these districts.
Alamilla Miss informed that growers suffer the consequences of having to rely on intermediaries, as they do not have the contacts to negotiate good export contracts for their tomatoes and Habanero peppers.
He reminded that it was in 2001 when the test program started with the installation of 10 greenhouses, given the insistence of land owners, who wished to test other production methods, leaving behind the destruction of the Maya Forest, where there is a rocky ground which cannot be mechanised or used for livestock farming. This gave way to the first 10 rural production societies, which experienced some ups and downs in the conversion to the new technology.
The first tomato harvest was not a successful one, as it took place during a season in which prices were very low and they had nowhere to sell their produce, but these problems were already overcome. Nowadays growers have the right training and the production system has already become established in the region.
The representative of the producers declared that, according to the authorities, around 1,200,000 pesos were invested that year in each greenhouse, of which 70% was funded by the Government and 30% by the land owners, amounting to a total investment of 12 million pesos.
He stated that each greenhouse provides direct employment to an average of 10 to 15 rural workers and around 25 during the peak of the season; thus, around 1,500 people depend on this activity, as there are currently 60 greenhouses in operation.
Each greenhouse, he added, produces between 30 and 35 tonnes of Habanero peppers each productive cycle, which in the current conditions are purchased at 20 pesos per kilo by intermediary distributors and sold in the Mayan Riviera and Cancun.