New study highlights opportunities for Dutch water businesses in Mexico

A new study financed by RVO and commissioned by the Netherlands Embassy in Mexico-City describes the water-related problems in Mexico’s agricultural sector, as well as opportunities and recommendations for Dutch water businesses interested in Mexico’s growing agricultural sector. The report will be presented in an on-line session on 6 September.


The scarcest resource in Mexican agriculture

Water is a hot issue in Mexican agriculture: it is probably the scarcest resource around, and this year’s historic droughts have made this scarcity particularly pressing: Mexico’s water availability is now around 4.000 m3 per inhabitant per year, which is dangerously close to 2.000 m3 per inhabitant per year: below this threshold Mexico would officially enter into a water crisis. Climate change is expected to only worsen this situation in the coming years.

76% of the available water in Mexico is used by its farmers. Irrigation systems are often inefficient (a study by Mexico’s National Water Committee CONAGUA shows that between 50% and 85% of the water that is extracted for irrigation is lost due to inefficiencies), and farmers have little financial means to invest in technological improvements. Agriculture is held responsible not only for the over-exploitation of Mexico’s natural water bodies, but also for much of their contamination. Such contamination is caused by residues of fertilizers, agro-chemicals or by agriculture-induced deforestation. The continuing growth of Mexico’s agricultural sector will exacerbate these problems, if nothing is done.

Against this backdrop, the agricultural team at the Netherlands Embassy in Mexico-City commissioned a study to better understand the underlying problems affecting the water and agriculture nexus, as well as to identify opportunities for the Dutch water sector. The study was conducted in the first half of 2021 by Agroder, a Mexican firm specialized in water issues, and will be presented to Dutch companies on 6 September 2021.

Contents of the study

The report provides an overview and a wealth of detailed geographical information of the main water issues in Mexico’s agriculture: soil degradation (including i.a. salinity), water deficits in its natural water bodies, and water pollution. It particularly zooms in on a number of sub-sectors, including  fruit and (protected) horticulture, livestock farming and the food processing industry. It also describes the current state of technology used by Mexican farmers, relevant policies and legislation, and provides an overview of the main stakeholders as well as potential competitors of Dutch water companies interested in the Mexican market.

Regional hotspots

The authors of the report conclude that the water issues in Mexican growing agriculture sector present many opportunities for Dutch businesses that offer solutions for water management and efficient water use, (waste) water treatment, technical assistance, soil testing, and humidity sensors, nitrogen, greening and coloring sensors. The report concludes with a number of recommendations for Dutch companies interested in providing solutions to Mexico’s water and agriculture challenges. One of these recommendations is to focus on so-called regional hotspots (regions with highly productive agriculture that produce high-value commodities and that struggle with water issues for which Dutch expertise could offer solutions). These regional hotspots, most of them in Mexico’s highly productive but also driest Northern regions include the states of Baja California, Sonora and Sinaloa, the Laguna-Chihuahua region and the Central-Western Bajío-Occidente region. Together, these five regions are responsible for almost half of Mexico’s agri-food production value.

Presentation of the study

Dutch businesses interested in knowing more about the findings and recommendations of this report and in asking their questions directly to the authors of the report are invited to join the on-line  presentation of the report on Monday 6 September from 16:00 to 17:30 hours (NL time), organized by the agricultural team of the Embassy of The Netherlands in Mexico. For registration, please click here.