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Mexican Producers of Vanilla Beans Face Tightening Supplies, Increased Demand

ISSN:1054-8890
LADB Article ID: 80378
Category/Department: Mexico
Date: 2017-08-16
By: Carlos Navarro

Climate change and an evolving global consumer market are threatening one of Mexico’s heirloom agricultural products: the vanilla bean. The northern region of Veracruz state, near the community of Papantla, is considered the birthplace of the vanilla bean. The region, which accounts for a large share of Mexico’s total production of between 400 to 500 metric tons per year, received a special certification from the Mexican government in 2009 to help protect the unique nature of the vanilla grown there. Vanilla beans, which are extracted from a species of orchid native to Mexico, are also grown in the states of Oaxaca, Puebla, Hidalgo, San Luis Potosí, Quintana Roo, and Chiapas. A problem in Veracruz,is that global climate change is affecting the natural forests that are ideal for vanilla production. Among other things, the loss of habitat is reducing the number of Melipona bees, one of the pollinators of the orchids that produce the vanilla bean. In addition to the loss of habitat, the growing conditions are changing. Temperatures have increased in the spring during pollination, the rains are coming later than usual, and the heat is lingering through autumn.

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