Mayan milpa farming urged to combat climate change

Eduardo Batllori Sampedro is head of the state environmental agency. Photo: Flickr

The milpa — a farming system that has been used in these lands for more than 3,000 years — can be key to coping with climate change, says Dr. Eduardo Batllori Sampedro.

The revaluation of the milpa is one of the main strategies of the “Por un Yucatán Orgánico” initiative promoted by government agencies and civil organizations, said the secretary of Urban Development and Environment, or SEDUMA.

“The Mayan milpa represents a kind of food insurance in the face of climate change,” said Batllori Sampedro. “Because in the biodiversity of the region there are many species capable of adapting and tolerating extreme conditions.”

The milpa farming technique sets aside farm land after two years’ planting to regenerate for anywhere from seven to 20 years. Crops are mainly maize, but can also be squash or beans.

The system is proven for lasting through the extremely dry periods that have been recorded in the last 3,000 years, he said.

The state official also called for using organic substances in crops instead of agrochemicals, which are commonly linked to cancer.

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