Social organizations mapped the 59 municipalities that they called “poppies”, located in Chihuahua, Guerrero, Nayarit, Sinaloa, Oaxaca, and Durango, where between 2003 and 2019 an average of one hectare of poppy destroyed was recorded for every 38 hectares of legal crops planted.
Academics and social organizations mapped and identified the 59 municipalities that they called “poppies”, located in Chihuahua, Guerrero, Nayarit, Sinaloa, Oaxaca, and Durango, where between 2003 and 2019 an average of one hectare of poppy was recorded destroyed for every 38 hectares of legal crops planted.
On March 8, during his morning press conference, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador declared that the government of Mexico is studying what to do with poppy crops that face competition from synthetic opioids.
“In what has to do with the commercialization of marijuana and poppies, the decision has been made to initiate a substantive analysis of these crops,” said the president.
Specialists from the Noria Program for Mexico in alliance with Mexico United Against Crime (MUCD) and the Center for Mexico-United States Studies of the University of California, traveled for 15 months Guerrero, Nayarit, Sinaloa, and Durango to produce unpublished data about the crop poppy.
This Wednesday they presented the section “Why is the poppy crucial to understanding the war on drugs in Mexico? “, Where they revealed the 59” poppy “municipalities in Mexico.
“Although the vast majority of poppy municipalities are entirely within physiographic subprovinces with mountainous relief, some contain coastal or very low-altitude territories,” the report indicated.
They mentioned that between 2003 and 2019, the Secretary of National Defense (Sedena) registered poppy destructions in 835 of the 2,465 municipalities in the country, and the United States government estimates that in 2016 our country had 32,000 hectares of opium production, and 44,100 in 2017.
They indicated that in five municipalities eradicated areas are reported that exceed 20,000 hectares in 17 years in Sinaloa, Durango, Chihuahua, and Guerrero, while in other states only destructions of less than one hectare are registered between 2003 and 2019.
Crops benefit intermediaries more than farmers
In the study, researchers such as Irene Álvarez, Cecilia Farfán-Méndez, and Paul Frissard Martínez, mentioned that the poppy is a gateway to emblematic territories of the war on drugs and the lives of tens of thousands of families in rural Mexico.
They said that Mexico is one of the world’s largest poppy producers and that the opium gum that is extracted from the flower is transformed into heroin in Mexico and is exported almost entirely to the United States and Canada, where it accounts for 90% of the market.
However, they warned that this does not represent a benefit for the Mexican peasants who cultivate it, nor does it combat inequality in Chihuahua, Guerrero, Nayarit, Sinaloa, Oaxaca, and Durango, because most of the money remains with the intermediaries, legal and illegal.
They mentioned that the poppy has been cultivated by farmers for more than 70 years in the so-called “Golden Triangle” between the Sinaloa and Durango mountains, and almost 40 years in Guerrero. In addition to the fact that there are more than four generations of inhabitants who are dedicated to the production of poppies.
They stated that poppy planting is a productive activity integrated into society, since the “poppy” territories, between 70% and 95% of the population – men, women, and children – work or earn their living in an activity that has directly or indirectly to do with the crop.
In that sense, the “Why is the poppy crucial to understanding the war on drugs in Mexico? “, Identified that the 59” poppy “municipalities are:
- 1. Ocampo (Chihuahua)
- 2. Chinipas (Chihuahua)
- 3. Guachochi (Chihuahua)
- 4. Morelos (Chihuahua)
- 5. Guadalupe y Calvo (Chihuahua)
- 6. Hidalgo del Parral (Chihuahua)
- 7. Choix (Sinaloa)
- 8. Badiraguato (Sinaloa)
- 9. Culiacán (Sinaloa)
- 10. Mocorito (Sinaloa)
- 11. Sinaloa (Sinaloa)
- 12. Cosalá (Sinaloa)
- 13. Concordia (Sinaloa)
- 14. San Ignacio (Sinaloa)
- 15. Cinnamon (Durango)
- 16. Otáez (Durango)
- 17. Tamazula (Durango)
- 18. Topia (Durango)
- 19. Santiago Papasquiaro (Durango)
- 20. Tepehuanes (Durango)
- 21. Durango (Durango)
- 22. Mezquital (Durango)
- 23. New Town (Durango)
- 24. San Dimas (Durango)
- 25. Huajicori (Nayarit)
- 26. Acaponeta (Nayarit)
- 27. Del Nayar (Nayarit)
- 28. La Yezca (Nayarit)
- 29. Compostela (Nayarit)
- 30. Zirándaro (Guerrero)
- 31. Ajuchitlán del Progreso (Guerrero)
- 32. San Miguel Totolapan (Guerrero)
- 33. Eduardo Neri (Guerrero)
- 34. General Heliodoro Castillo (Guerrero)
- 35. Olinalá (Guerrero)
- 36. Leonardo Bravo (Guerrero)
- 37. Alcozauca (Guerrero)
- 38. Atlixtac (Guerrero)
- 39. Chilapa (Guerrero)
- 40. Copanatoyac (Guerrero)
- 41. Quechultenango (Guerrero)
- 42. Tlacopa (Guerrero)
- 43. Zapotitlán (Guerrero)
- 44. Metlatónoc (Guerrero)
- 45. Ayutla (Guerrero)
- 46. Chilpancingo (Guerrero)
- 47. Ayoyac (Guerrero)
- 48. Coyuca de Beníitez (Guerrero)
- 49. Petatlán (Guerrero)
- 50. Tecpan (Guerrero)
- 51. Colcoyán (Guerrero)
- 52. San Martín Peras (Guerrero)
- 53. Miahuatlán (Oaxaca)
- 54. Villa Sola de Vega (Oaxaca)
- 55. San Carlos Yautepec (Oaxaca)
- 56. San Juan Lachigalla (Oaxaca)
- 57. San Pedro Quiatoni (Oaxaca)
- 58. Santa María Tepantlali (Oaxaca)
- 59. Santiago Xanica (Oaxaca)
The poppy is cheaper
They indicated that the crisis in the poppy market between 2017 and 2020, mainly linked to the introduction of fentanyl on the market (a much more potent and profitable synthetic opioid) has caused a drop of more than 90% in the price offered per kilo of paste to farmers.
They pointed out that in mid-2020 prices rebounded, but in early 2021 the average estimate offered to farmers is 16,000 pesos per kilo at the national level.
In Sinaloa 17,000 pesos per kilo and Guerrero 15,000 pesos per kilo. “Of course, the variations are very high within the same regions: in Guerrero, the first national producer, prices range between 8,000 pesos, and 21,000 kilograms in the Sierra.
“At the local level, the pandemic does not appear to have affected drug production and trafficking. Poppy-related activities were carried out without any particular mishap. Of course, the social and economic consequences for some of the most marginalized areas of Mexico are catastrophic and must be addressed urgently, “the study mentioned.
The report mentioned that the poppy boom is associated with the reforms of the Mexican State in the 1980s and 1990s. “The culminating point was the signing of the Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA-1994) that transformed certain regions into regional and international agricultural powers. (Sinaloa and Michoacán, for example), while others, like Guerrero, increasingly became providers of labor, “he specified.