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Revista mexicana de ciencias agrícolas

Print version ISSN 2007-0934

Rev. Mex. Cienc. Agríc vol.7 n.8 Texcoco Nov./Dec. 2016



Marketing of tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) in southern state of Mexico

Felipe de Jesús González Razo1  § 

Dora Ma. Sangerman-Jarquín2 

José Miguel Omaña Silvestre3 

Samuel Rebollar Rebollar1 

Juvencio Hernández Martínez1 

Julio César Ayllón Benítez3 

1Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México-Centro Universitario UAEM Temascaltepec. Carretera Toluca-Cd. Altamirano, km 67.5, Gro. Col. Barrio de Santiago S/N. Temascaltepec, Estado de México. CP. 51300. Tel. 01 724 2675422. Ext. 124. (;;

2Campo Experimental Valle de México- INIFAP. Carretera Los Reyes- Texcoco, km 13.5, A. P. 10, CP. 56230. Coatlinchán, Texcoco, Estado de México. Tel. y Fax. 01 800 088 22 22- 85353. (

3Colegio de Postgraduados- Campus Montecillo. Carretera México-Texcoco, km 36.5, CP. 56230, Montecillo, Texcoco, Estado de México. Tel. 01 595 9520200. Ext. 1839. (;


The present study, analyses the prevailing production system of tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) in southern State of Mexico, its marketing process and economic impact of this activity on the different agents involved, the reference year of this study was 2014. The predominant operating system in the region was determined; also, the main marketing channels that the product follows from its exit of the farm until it reaches the final consumer were identified and calculated at current prices, marketing margins. For margins calculation followed statistically representative batches of the product through its way with the participating agents and the various costs and prices which were produced in its path were recorded. The predominant production system in the exploitation of tilapia in southern State of Mexico is semi-intensive, which is developed as a complement to other agricultural activities. The traditional marketing channel used to carry the product from the farm to the final consumer was direct sale in the producer’s farm to the final consumer. Producer participation in the final product price was on average 37.15%; intermediaries with 15.42% and restaurants with 46.93%. The total average marketing margin was $ 63.00 kg-1, from which restaurants obtained the largest average margin with $58.88 kg-1, while the remaining $4.12 kg-1 it was taken by intermediaries.

Keywords: Oreochromis niloticus; marketing; marketing margins


En el presente estudio, se analiza el sistema de producción imperante en las explotaciones de tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) del sur del Estado de México, su proceso de comercialización y el impacto económico de dicha actividad en los diversos actores participantes, el año de referencia del trabajo fue 2014. Se determinó el sistema de explotación predominante en la región; asimismo, se identificaron los principales canales de comercialización que sigue el producto desde su salida en la granja hasta su llegada al consumidor final y se calcularon, a precios corrientes, sus márgenes de comercialización. Para el cálculo de los márgenes se siguieron lotes estadísticamente representativos del producto a su paso por los agentes participantes y se registraron los distintos costos y precios que se fueron produciendo en su trayecto. El sistema de producción predominante en la explotación de tilapia en sur del Estado de México es el semi-intensivo, el cual se desarrolla como un complemento de otras actividades agropecuarias. El canal de comercialización tradicional empleado para llevar el producto desde la explotación hasta el consumidor final fue: la venta directa en la granja del productor al consumidor final. La participación del productor en el precio final del producto fue en promedio del 37.15%; los acopiadores participaron con el 15.42% y los restaurantes con el 46.93%. El margen de comercialización total promedio fue de $63.00 kg-1, del cual los restaurantes obtuvieron el mayor margen promedio con $58.88 kg-1, mientras el restante $4.12 kg-1 se lo adjudicaron los acopiadores.

Palabras clave: Oreochromis niloticus; comercialización; márgenes de comercialización


In the world, fish and fishery products represent an important source of protein and essential nutrients to the population, so, for 2009, fish accounted for 16.6% of the intake of animal protein of world population. According to FAO (2012) data, capture fisheries and aquaculture supplied the world with 148.5 million tons of fish in 2010 (217,500 million dollars), of which 86.39% was destined to human consumption. Thus, global per capita consumption of edible fish nearly doubled, from 9.9 kg (live weight) in 1960 to 18.8 kg in 2011.

During the period 2006-2011, capture fisheries participated with 62.06% of the world total production, while aquaculture accounted for the remaining 37.94%; in this regard, it is worth noting that the latter had the best average annual growth rate (AAGR) with 6.10%, compared to that recorded by capture fisheries 0.09%, for the same period, making clear the importance of the advances that aquaculture subsector has achieved in the world. Freshwater fish dominate world aquaculture production with 56.4% (33.7 million tonnes), followed by mollusks (23.6%) and crustaceans (9.6%); in this regard, in 2010 Asia generated 89% of world aquaculture production, since China contributed 60% of world production (FAO, 2012).

Another important factor to consider is that fishing and aquaculture provide livelihoods and income to over 100 million people worldwide, which depend directly and indirectly from the sector to live; represented by youth in developing countries, in which develops more than 80% of aquaculture production. Regarding to foreign trade, fish and fish products represent the most traded food products in the world, meaning about 10% of total agricultural exports and 1% of world merchandise trade in value terms (FAO, 2012).

According to FAO figures, in 2011 Mexico ranked 17 on world's fish production, with a share of 1.7 million tons, representing 0.95% of the world total. Fisheries production in Mexico progressed at a growth rate of 3.15% compared to 2010. Statistics from SAGARPA (2012) confirm that the most exploited fish species in the country during the period 2000 - 2012, are sardine with an average production of 640 635 t, which represented 40.4% of the national total, followed by shrimp (9.59%), tuna (7.12%) and bream (tilapia) with 4.75%; this activity, together, has developed a growth rate (AAGR) of 1.55% during that period.

Thus, tilapia production is the fourth most important fish species in the country, an activity that has grown at a rate of 0.03% over the last 12 years (period 20002012). It also represents the third most important species regarding to value, generating 1146.9 million pesos in 2011 (CONAPESCA, 2011). Among the most important states, regarding tilapia production, from 2000-2012, are Veracruz with an average participation of 15 707 t, that is 20.87% of national production, followed by Michoacán (16.12%), Sinaloa (8.38%), Tabasco (7.91%) and Jalisco (7.82%).

The State of Mexico is in 17th place with an average production of 1 100 t, representing 0.91% of the national total. It is noteworthy that in this state, the exploitation of the species grows at a rapid pace (with an AAGR of 7.60%) than in the five major producing states where the growth of this activity has remained marginal and in some cases regressed, which contrasts even more with the national AAGR of 0.03%; thus, tilapia production in the State of Mexico has been established as an activity that has recorded a significant rise over the past 12 years.

By 2010, in the State of Mexico, had identified 481 tilapia production units, distributed in 30 of the 125 municipalities in the state; 86.9% of them (418) are extensive type farms, which carry out their activities in levees and dams, while the remaining 13.1% (63) are semi-intensive type, by developing production in ponds and floating cages (CONAPESCA, 2010).

In this regard, tilapia production is concentrated in the Balsas River basin, which has orographic, climatic and hydrological characteristics that have favored the development of this activity, specifically, in the southern region of the State of Mexico, highlighting the Distrito de Desarrollo Rural (DDR) of Coatepec Harinas, which concentrated 56.34% of the production units dedicated to tilapia exploitation, followed by the DDR Tejupilco, which includes this municipality in addition to Amatepec, San Simón de Guerrero, Temascaltepec, Tlataya and Luvianos, with 33.68% (162) of the total units in the entity; excelling in the district the municipalities of Amatepec, 31.48% of the production units, Tejupilco (27.78%) and Tlataya (22.22%).

In this context, it is significant to study the characteristics that tilapia production and marketing presents in the southern region of the State of Mexico, specifically in the municipality of Tejupilco, since the exploitation of this species has been established as an alternative production activity, an important source of food and income for poor people and an incentive for the growth of regional trade.

Material and methods

This work was developed from January to March 2014, during which field information was collected; a convenience sampling (Cochran, 1984) was performed, in which 25 producers of tilapia were surveyed, which represent 59.52% of the producers from Tejupilco DDR and are part of the Tilapia Product System Committee of State of Mexico, four intermediaries and 25 consumers. The aim of the survey was to collect information concerning the production process, participating agents, marketing costs, volumes and current prices, to subsequently determine marketing margins and production characterization.

Computing systems

To calculate marketing margins two systems are available: the direct and indirect; the most perfect system is direct and consists of the following: a) follow statistically representative batches of agricultural products from their exit of the farm until they reach the consumer; b) take note of the different costs and prices that are occurring in their way through the different agents; and c) limit the research to the movement of representative production batches of agricultural products, using statistical sampling to select the study items; in order for results to be considered as an estimate of the true margins (García et al., 1990).

The direct system provides complete information to calculate the total margin and its components, but the procedure is very complicated and expensive; however, it is a suitable system to study the margins of certain channels or products. A less perfect system is the indirect, which consists of comparing statistics or price information in the different stages of marketing, a drawback of this system is that often the available statistics do not relate to comparable products in terms of quality and other physical characteristics as well as the time between the different phases regarding prices for comparison thereof. Therefore, it is recommended to combine both systems under certain situations; in the present work, the direct system was used, although it is more complicated and expensive, but it is more reliable and truthful about the information obtained.

Information used

Purchase and selling price information was obtained directly from the agents involved in the marketing process, which were weighted by their respective quantities bought and product sold to obtain even more actual prices.

Estimation procedure

To estimate marketing margins it should be careful that in the whole process the information used is comparable, i.e. it refers to the same unit and quality of products, whether processed or unprocessed. In the marketing process of the producer to the final consumer sub-products (viscera and scales) are extracted, so prices received by producers, are not directly comparable with sale prices to final consumer. In this case to calculate margins, it must solve the consistent problem in determining the equivalent value. Thus, the absolute total marketing margin (M) is calculated by difference between the product value in consumption (Pc) and the corrected production value (Pp) plus marketing costs incurred during the process (CC ); i.e. M= Pc - Pp - CC.

A marketing margin refers to the difference between the selling price of a product unit by a marketer and payment made in purchasing the equivalent amount of product sold to the unit. In addition, margins consist of a number of components corresponding to the different costs and agent’s benefits, such as the value in pesos of labor, transport, materials and packaging, advertising, depreciation, taxes, profits, interest, rents and other costs, which are named as marketing costs (CC) (García et al., 1990).

Meanwhile, gross margin (MBC), expressed as a percentage is defined as the difference between the price per kilogram paid by the final consumer and the price per kilogram received by the producer. The MBC analysis aims to determine its magnitude at different marketing stages, according to the participant agent type thus the distribution of income among its agents (Acuña, 1980, quoted by Vilavoa et al., 2010); thus, MBC is calculated in relation to the final price or price paid by the final consumer and is expressed in percentage (Mendoza, 1987); so: MBC = ((Pc - Pp)/Pc) *100; where: Pc represents the consumer price and Pp the producer price.

Marketing costs

To calculate marketing margins were defined as components of marketing costs (CC), incurred by the various agents involved in the process, to direct labor, transport costs, packaging, power, water, depreciation of machinery, various administrative expenses, indirect labor and other costs.

Consideration of by-products

In the case of livestock and fishery products, regardless of the system used in the calculation of marketing margins, it is of great importance to adequately address the aspect related to by-products, which must be compared with the equivalent amount (Caldentey, 1979), but the problem lies in determining which is the equivalent amount. A practical advice to solve this problem may be to correct the price to producer by decreasing it in the percentage represented by sub-products, this percentage can be in physical terms or in terms of value, same that is calculated in the stage where the product is main product and by-products are separated.

According to the above, the marketing margin is calculated as the difference between the product value of consumption and corrected production corrected. To calculate this equivalent amount, tilapia yield without viscera was used, which averaged 90%, data consistent with the study by Bello and Gil (1992), with which was determined the corrected production value and allowed to compare prices of the product throughout the marketing process and calculate the corresponding margins.

Results and discussion

Production system

When considering the basis for the classification of tilapia production systems, conducted by FAO (2005), ITAM-CONAPESCA (2006) and SAGARPA-CONAPESCA (2012), the system developed by the producers from the southern region of the State of Mexico is more closely linked to a semi-intensive production system, characterized by farms where sterilized fry are used for fattening, which are grown in earthen or concrete ponds, sustained with balanced food and where animal health standards applied are emerging; also, this activity is carried as a complement to other agricultural and livestock activities.

Agents and marketing channels

The main agents in the marketing process of tilapia in the southern region of the State of Mexico are: producers, intermediaries, restaurants and final consumers. The traditional marketing channel that follows the product from its exit of the farm until they reach the final consumer is: producer → final consumer, which is developed by 75% of the agents involved in the process. Meanwhile, 20% of the agents practice two aspects of the traditional channel, represented by: 1) producer → intermediary → final consumer and 2) producer → intermediary → restaurant → final consumer, while the remaining 5% develops the channel: producer → restaurant → final consumer; noteworthy that intermediaries at the same time act as a retailer (Figure 1).

Fuente: elaboración con base en información de campo.

Figure 1 Commercialization chain of tilapia. 

Sale prices

Regarding selling prices achieved during 2014 by the different agents in the marketing process of tilapia in the southern state of Mexico, highlighted producers, who recorded an average selling price of $42.54 kg-1, intermediaries $51.32 kg-1, while restaurants recorded a price of $114.45 kg-1.

Regarding to agents participation in the selling price of the product, intermediaries contributed with 15.92%, producers with 37.15%, and restaurants obtained the largest share with 46.93% of the final sales price.

The highest sales price achieved by all the agents involved (producers, intermediaries and restaurants), were recorded in the months of March and April, which coincide with the holiday period of Easter, where the consumption of fish and shellfish significantly increases (Table 1).

Table 1 Involvement of the various agents in sale price. 

Mes/agente Productor ($ kg-1) Part. (%) Acopiador ($ kg-1) Part. (%) Restaurante ($ kg-1) Part. (%)
Enero 42.11 37.21 48.26 17.97 113.16 44.82
Febrero 40.63 35.67 50.76 16.67 113.89 47.66
Marzo 45.59 37.88 59.6 15.79 120.38 46.34
Abril 49.27 40.18 60.92 15.79 122.62 44.03
Mayo 42.74 36.28 58.73 15.79 117.8 47.93
Junio 40.85 36.44 46.65 15.79 112.12 47.77
Julio 40.66 37.06 46.95 15.79 109.73 47.16
Agosto 40.69 36.97 46.72 15.52 110.07 47.51
Septiembre 42.06 37.65 49.19 16.18 111.71 46.17
Octubre 41.99 37.06 49.4 15.79 113.29 47.15
Noviembre 41.99 36.72 49.4 14.74 114.38 48.55
Diciembre 41.88 36.67 49.21 15.3 114.21 48.03
Promedio 42.54 37.15 51.32 15.92 114.45 46.93

Fuente: elaboración con base en información de campo.

Gross marketing margin

The gross margin (MBC) is calculated in relation to the final price or price paid by the final consumer and is expressed in percentage; in this sense, MBC revealed that for every peso that consumer paid by purchasing a kilogram of tilapia, intermediaries earned 62.85% of that price, which corresponds to $71.91 kg-1; meanwhile, producers obtained 37.15% of the total price paid by the consumer, corresponding to $42.54 kg-1. The best gross margins recorded by intermediaries were obtained in the months of February and May (Table 2).

Table 2 Gross margin marketing. 

Mes/agente Productor Restaurante Margen
Precio de venta ($ kg-1) Precio de venta ($ kg-1) (MBC) (%)
Enero 42.11 113.16 62.79
Febrero 40.63 113.89 64.33
Marzo 45.59 120.38 62.12
Abril 49.27 122.62 59.82
Mayo 42.74 117.8 63.72
Junio 40.85 112.12 63.56
Julio 40.66 109.73 62.94
Agosto 40.69 110.07 63.03
Septiembre 42.06 111.71 62.35
Octubre 41.99 113.29 62.94
Noviembre 41.99 114.38 63.28
Diciembre 41.88 114.21 63.33
Promedio 42.54 114.45 62.85

Fuente: elaboración con base a información de campo.

When analyzing gross profits obtained by each of the agents involved in the intermediation process, it was found that the total gross profit recorded in the process (62.85%), restaurants achieved higher sales margin, since by each kilogram of tilapia sold obtained $ 63.13 utility, which represented 55.25% of gross profit, the biggest margin was recorded in June ($65.47 kg-1) and the lowest in May ($59.06 kg-1); meanwhile, intermediaries achieved $8.78 kg-1, 7.6% of the utility and its best gross margin in May with $16.00 kg-1 (Table 3 and 4).

Table 3 Gross margins in brokerage marketing. 

Acopiador a restaurante Precio al acopiador Precio al productor Precio al consumidor final MBC (%) MBC ($ kg-1)
Enero 48.26 42.11 113.16 5.43 6.15
Febrero 50.76 40.63 113.89 8.9 10.14
Marzo 59.6 45.59 120.38 11.64 14.01
Abril 60.92 49.27 122.62 9.51 11.66
Mayo 58.73 42.74 117.8 13.58 16
Junio 46.65 40.85 112.12 5.17 5.79
Julio 46.95 40.66 109.73 5.73 6.29
Agosto 46.72 40.69 110.07 5.48 6.03
Septiembre 49.19 42.06 111.71 6.38 7.13
Octubre 49.4 41.99 113.29 6.54 7.41
Noviembre 49.4 41.99 114.38 6.48 7.41
Diciembre 49.21 41.88 114.21 6.41 7.32
Promedio 51.32 42.54 114.45 7.6 8.78

Fuente: elaboración con base a información de campo.

Table 4 Gross margins in brokerage marketing. 

Restaurante a consumidor final Precio al consumidor Precio al acopiador Precio al último consumidor MBC (%) MBC ($ kg-1)
Enero 113.16 48.26 113.16 57.35 64.9
Febrero 113.89 50.76 113.89 55.43 63.13
Marzo 120.38 59.6 120.38 50.49 60.78
Abril 122.62 60.92 122.62 50.31 61.69
Mayo 117.8 58.73 117.8 50.14 59.06
Junio 112.12 46.65 112.12 58.4 65.47
Julio 109.73 46.95 109.73 57.21 62.78
Agosto 110.07 46.72 110.07 57.55 63.35
Sepiembre 111.71 49.19 111.71 55.97 62.53
Octubre 113.29 49.4 113.29 56.4 63.89
Noviembre 114.38 49.4 114.38 56.81 64.97
Diciembre 114.21 49.21 114.21 56.92 65.01
Promedio 114.45 51.32 114.45 55.25 63.13
Total 62.85 71.91

Fuente: Elaboración con base a información de campo.

Total sales margins

The average total marketing margin was $63.00 kg-1, of which restaurants obtained the largest margin average with $58.88 kg-1, while the remaining $4.12 kg-1 corresponded to intermediaries; the best overall margins were recorded in the months of May, $66.15 kg-1, March ($65.88 kg-1) and April ($64.44 kg-1), while the lowest margins were achieved in the months of July ($60.16 kg-1) and August ($60.47 kg-1). In this regard, restaurants recorded their best margins in the months of June ($61.22 kg-1), December ($60.76 kg-1) and November ($60.72 kg-1), while the lowest margin recorded was in May ($54.81 kg-1); meanwhile, intermediaries obtained their higher margins in the months of May ($11.34 kg-1), March ($9.35 kg-1) and April ($7.00 kg-1), and its lower margin in June with $1.13 kg-1; thus, it can be seen that the lower gross margin that an agent registers coincides with the largest margin achieved by the other agent, complementing its participation in income distribution and product marketing (Table 5).

Table 5 Total marketing margins from agents ($ kg-1). 

Mes Margen 1 Margen 2 Margen absoluto
Productor a acopiador Acopiador a restaurante Restaurante a productor
Ene. 42.11 4.66 48.26 1.49 48.26 4.25 113.16 60.65 42.11 8.91 113.16 62.14
Feb. 40.63 4.66 50.76 5.48 50.76 4.25 113.89 58.88 40.63 8.91 113.89 64.35
Mar. 45.59 4.66 59.6 9.35 59.6 4.25 120.38 56.53 45.59 8.91 120.38 65.88
Abr. 49.27 4.66 60.92 7 60.92 4.25 122.62 57.44 49.27 8.91 122.62 64.44
May. 42.74 4.66 58.73 11.34 58.73 4.25 117.80 54.81 42.74 8.91 117.8 66.15
Jun. 40.85 4.66 46.65 1.13 46.65 4.25 112.12 61.22 40.85 8.91 112.12 62.36
Jul. 40.66 4.66 46.95 1.63 46.95 4.25 109.73 58.53 40.66 8.91 109.73 60.16
Ago. 40.69 4.66 46.72 1.37 46.72 4.25 110.07 59.1 40.69 8.91 110.07 60.47
Sep. 42.06 4.66 49.19 2.47 49.19 4.25 111.71 58.28 42.06 8.91 111.71 60.74
Oct. 41.99 4.66 49.4 2.75 49.4 4.25 113.29 59.64 41.99 8.91 113.29 62.39
Nov. 41.99 4.66 49.4 2.75 49.4 4.25 114.38 60.72 41.99 8.91 114.38 63.47
Dic. 41.88 4.66 49.21 2.66 49.21 4.25 114.21 60.76 41.88 8.91 114.21 63.42
Prom. 42.54 4.66 51.32 4.12 51.32 4.25 114.45 58.88 42.54 8.91 114.45 63

Fuente: elaboración con base a información de campo. M= margen; PC= precio de compra; PV= precio de venta; CC= costos de comercialización.


The predominant production system in tilapia exploitation in the southern State of Mexico, was semi-intensive, characterized by farms where sterilized fry are used for fattening, which are grown in earthen or concrete ponds, sustained with balanced food and where animal health standards applied are emerging; also, this activity is developed as a complement to other agricultural and livestock activities. The traditional marketing channel used to carry the product from the farm to the final consumer, is direct sale in the farm to the final consumer; an aspect of this channel is the sale from producer to the intermediary and from it to the final consumer. Regarding to prices, the highest recorded in the Easter period, being restaurants that have higher participation in the final price; in this sense, producers obtained less than 40% of the total price paid by the consumer. Moreover, the resulting gross profit from marketing margins, restaurants obtained more than half of that profit, registering the best margins during the summer holiday period.

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Received: April 2016; Accepted: July 2016

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