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Investigaciones geográficas

On-line version ISSN 2448-7279Print version ISSN 0188-4611


IBARROLA-RIVAS, Maria Jose; CASTILLO, Guillermo  and  GONZALEZ, Jorge. Social, economic and production aspects of maize systems in Mexico. Invest. Geog [online]. 2020, n.102, e60009.  Epub Mar 09, 2021. ISSN 2448-7279.

Mexico, where farms range from subsistence to industrial systems, is a good example of the wide global diversity in farm systems in terms of agricultural technology, economic strategies and socio-cultural characteristics. This paper studies national-scale data to analyse three maize production systems: small-scale (< 2 ha per farm), medium-scale (5-10 ha per farm), and large-scale (>50 ha per farm). Farm-scale data from the Agricultural National Survey of 2014 were used at national and state scale to investigate trends and differences among the systems in relation to (1) socio-cultural characteristics (use of maize for self-sufficiency and sales; land tenure, type of seed and use of family labour), (2) agricultural technology (crop yields, irrigation system, agrochemicals use and labour requirements) and (3) economic characteristics (governmental programmes, insurance, credits and production costs). The results show that some characteristics are intrinsic to the type of system but that others deviate from the trends or patterns reported in the literature. For instance, (1) most farmers from the three systems use agrochemicals and (2) a large share of the crop area of large-scale systems (22%) consists of social land tenure (“ejido”). Furthermore, some of these trends show geographical deviations. Farms differ in their response to social, economic and technological aspects, and this emphasizes the need for an interdisciplinary approach in the design of political strategies that are context specific.

Keywords : Agricultural systems; Interdisciplinary analysis; Maize; Mexico; Social, economic and technological characteristics.

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