Re: “Food Crisis as Drought and Cold Hit Mexico” by Karla Zabludovsky

Source: Tomas Bravo/Reuters

In the article, Karla Zabludovsky discusses the harsh conditions in Mexico during its recent drought crisis, adverse crop-devastating weather patterns and how the indigenous and rural communities have been absorbing such blows. The indigenous communities that are located predominantly in the north are among the poorest in Mexico and those living there rely almost exclusively on subsistence farming. The land that they have is depleted and showing incredible signs of immense strain; it is estimated only seven percent of the land available for crop production is arable. This situation is expected only to get worse with the Mexican authorities already acknowledging that it will take at least five months to properly aid the most severely affected regions, when the rainy season begins and naturally ameliorate drought-related strains.

Although the Mexican government has pledged over two billion dollars for temporary relief, five months without aggressive action could do irrevocable damage to crop supply. This would compound already existing problems involving crippling poverty and a deteriorating agribusiness sector. Not only is the land threatened but access to clean water also has been compromised. Without well thought out action and measured implementation of programs geared to alleviate desertification and to prevent the continual depletion in the region, the local population will continue to suffer and the food shortages will undoubtedly stretch wider throughout the country. This will cause the already existing wide and distorted development gap, now being witnessed, to continue. It is incredibly important for the Mexican government to provide effective humanitarian aid to remedy this situation. It must be able to combine immediate assistance and structural support that continues the local autonomy of respect to the local community, while promoting self-sustaining practices and the ability to smoothly transition into a normalized life for all whom the drought has affected. While we might be witnessing the tenuous tectonic plates of humanitarian assistance and intervention; each action of planners in the field should be made in the most thorough manner and with the most sober attitude in commitment to its people.