Yucatan On the World Stage
Conkal Develops and Gives Away Drought Resistant Grass
We knew that the Instituto Tecnológico de Conkal has developed a drought-resistant grass and that they have been giving seeds to Yucatan’s ranchers and even to all of Mexico over a period of some weeks now. We even heard that this grass is somehow linked to drought-resistant grasses in northern Iraq. What we didn’t know was that there is a huge, worldwide Inter-Drought Council that just held its third symposium in Shanghai in mid-October, 2009. The Program for Inter-Drought III is amazing and shows that at least the scientific and agricultural communities are not asleep at the wheel as we enter a period in which water may very well be the new oil. We are also quite proud of Dr. Alfonso Larqué-Saavedra, of Unidad de Recursos Naturales, Centro de Investigación Científica de Yucatán for representing Yucatan and Mexico at this important conference. To read more about this and past Inter-Drought events, please visit the Inter-Drought website.
Caravana de Emprendedores (Caravan of Entrepreneurs)
December 3rd and 4th will see the Caravan of Entrepreneurs set up in a huge tent at Universidad del Mayab. As some are aware, the government and the universities partner in developing business incubators for young entrepreneurs throughout Mexico. This year, a young partnership from Progreso took second place in national entrepreneurial competition in Veracruz. At this Caravan of Entrepreneurs, there will be every type of business related information possible available to those who want to develop their own businesses. While small business is encouraged, so is a new change in attitude and function. The theme of this year’s Caravan of Entrepreneurs is Professionalizing the Entrepreneur. In this way, the young entrepreneurs will be better able to succeed in their businesses, as well as create more wealth and jobs for the nation and for the people. The one characteristic we love best about Yucatan is that the entire state always has its eyes not only on the future, but on the best ways and means of reaching great heights as well. We wish all attendees of this event the best possible future!
Entrepreneurial Forum: U.S., Canada and Mexico
December 8th through 10th will see an International Entrepreneurial Forum held in the International Business Center of Centro Siglo XXI. The three leaders of the forum will be Ray Nagin, Mayor of New Orleans, Kelly Kirchner, Vice-Mayor of Sarasota Florida, and César Bojórquez Zapata, Mayor of Merida. While the focus of the forum will be on imports and exports between attendees from Louisiana, Texas, Florida, Canada and Mexico, the aim will be to open up opportunities to small business entrepreneurs at both ends of the import-export chain. By helping to build up small businesses, new jobs and new wealth are created for all of the people in the supply chain. Merida’s geographic location is key to opening the doors to import-export opportunities throughout the Caribbean, as well as Central America. We have seen what big business can do and the tragic economic end of their era. Now is the time to support small business and to build a future for the people of each of these important areas of trade. We wish all attendees at this forum great success, both now and for many years to come.
In the Interior of Yucatan
What Can You Buy for $1 Peso a Week?
Tennis lessons for children in Valladolid. That’s right – every Saturday, at the Unidad Deportiva “Claudio Alcocer” in Colonia Fernando Novelo Valladolid has tennis lessons for those who want them. This new program has been approved by the United Mexican Tennis Federation, by the local tennis courts, and by the City Council. It is sponsored by the Sports Institute of Yucatan, Hotel Maria de la Luz, Trivasa, Pacific Bio, Marios Pizza and La Favorita. Racquets and balls are provided by the sponsors and classes are open to children from 5 to 12 years of age. We think this is a great idea and a wonderful addition to the many music, dance, and voice lessons already offered by the State of Yucatan. These are Yucatan’s citizens of tomorrow and, while the children of the rest of the world sit indoors playing computer games, the children of Yucatan are reaching for good health and the stars.
Soybeans and Sorghum in Yucatan!
How did we miss this?! 2009 was a test year for growing soybeans and sorghum in Yucatan! Who knew?! 3,500 hectares (1 hectare = 2.47 acres) of soybeans and 1,500 hectares of sorghum were planted in what is called the Southern Cone area of Yucatan – and the project has been a raving success! As a result, in 2010, farmers will plant 11,000 hectares of soybeans, 3,000 hectares of sorghum and one or two thousand hectares of corn. Although maize is still the main crop in Yucatan, farmers want to be sure that they can survive the climate changes that are taking place, and they see crop diversification as the way to do that. The best part of this program is that the soybeans were all grown under a contract that paid a set price for the entire crop. Plus the farmers, for the first time, enjoyed the security of crop insurance. Prices are all but guaranteed to improve with time and experience because Mexico consumes 3.6 million tons of soybeans per year but only produces 117,000 tons. Talk about finding a need and filling it! Way to go, Yucatan! Congratulations to the 350 farmers in the Southern Cone of the State of Yucatan for a job VERY well done!
Fires in Homes as Temperatures Drop
With this last norte, temperatures dropped to 10 °C (50 °F). This may not sound bad to those who live in the frozen north, but it is bitterly cold to people who live in the tropics. This is especially true of small Yucateco homes that lie on the outskirts of villages, with no protection from the wind. Once it gets cold, it often seems as if nothing in the world is as cold as a concrete house, with a concrete roof and tile or concrete floors – and more so in a house built of bamboo or sticks. Some of these homeowners are bringing coals from burning fallen trees into their homes, and relighting them during the night. They are aware of the danger of such practices, but feel they have no choice in the matter. Gone seem the days when “just bring a couple of pairs of sweat pants” was sufficient to make it through the 3 or 4 nortes per winter in Yucatan. Last year, we had in excess of 40 nortes and temperatures dropped into the 40′s in February this year. From now on, we are going to be on the lookout for safe, affordable, ecologically sound means of heating. If you know of anything that might help keep these fires out of the homes in our outlying Yucateco villages, please let us know.
Current Status of Tizimin Zoo
As we have discussed, several times in the past, there is a major problem at the Tizimin Zoo. It seems that the City Council and Mayor take care of the animals only when someone (PROFEPA) is watching. Once they are gone, it is back to business as usual. Unfortunately, in the past 18 months, that lack of concern has caused the deaths of 30 of the Tizimin Zoo animals and triggered not only PROFEPA taking title to the animals, but a personal visit by Patricio Patron Laviada, former Governor of Yucatan and current Attorney General for the Environment in all of Mexico. As a result of his visit, there will be a local Board of Trustees responsible for the condition of the zoo and the animals who live there. One more incident and there will be no further discussion. The animals will be picked up and relocated by PROFEPA, with the aid and support of the Security Police if necessary. Patricio Patron Laviada admitted to a sin of omission during the past 18 months. The people of Tizimin did not want to lose their zoo and he kept giving them one more chance. However, because of his sympathy for the people, animals died and this is now a matter of Tizimin’s Mayor and City Council having broken federal environmental and animal rights laws. He has no other choice but to take matters into the hands of PROFEPA.
News From the Beach
Pulpo Catch Still Abnormally High
Before the pulpo season began, estimates were made as to how many tons of pulpo could be called an excellent season. The boats went out and came back loaded, over and over again. It wasn’t long before they passed that “excellent season” prediction and left it far behind. At first, there was great jubilation and then reality set in. Exceeding an “excellent season” prediction is one thing. A catch of two and three times what would be considered an “excellent season” is something else again. Worries of overfishing surfaced and an early end to pulpo season was called for December 15. This week, just one of the boats came back with 8 tons of pulpo on board. Some are wondering if this phenomenon is related in any way to the huge number of giant jellyfish that have begun to invade shallow waters around the world. Whether it is or is not, Yucatan’s pulpo fishermen are preparing for their final 10-day fishing trips and the end to one of the most successful pulpo seasons ever! We will be interested to hear the scientists’ explanations of this phenomenon when they conduct further research and make a final analysis.
Equine Therapy Assessment Center in Progreso
The longer we live here, the more impressed we are with the huge range of services provided by the D.I.F. (Mexico’s Health Department). Children with disabilities of all kinds enjoy a wide variety of treatment and rehabilitation programs, not in the least of which is equine therapy. Currently, there are 7 places throughout the state where disabled children, ranging in age from 2 to 12, can be assessed to determine if they are candidates for equine therapy. One of these centers is now located in Progreso. If a disabled child qualifies for equine therapy, then their parents bring them to one of those seven centers and they are taken – twice a week and free of charge – by ambulance, to the equine therapy track at X’matquil. This is a growing, licensed program that is currently benefitting a dozen children on a regular basis and six more periodically. We are so proud of not only all of the D.I.F. employees who are involved with the equine therapy program, but also of the children who participate and their parents who have the courage to seek out the best treatment possible for their disabled children.
Best Blogs We Found This Week
Travel N Dreams
If you are thinking of driving to the Yucatan from the United States, you might find this blog interesting. Lots of photos and a report of the journey done very recently.
Yucatan: Safest State in Mexico!
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! In a week where we are still reading those horrid (and SO untrue) travel warnings, William Lawson brings us the FACTS.
…and a New Wedding Album from Elizabeth Medina
We end today’s news with a thing of absolute beauty. If you haven’t seen her work, visit Elizabeth Medina’s Website. This lady has the talent to turn every wedding memory into the stuff of dreams.