As a result of the impulse that Governor Mauricio Vila Dosal has given to the Yucatecan countryside, the Mayan milpa received global recognition from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) for the complexity of this model, which includes the combined cultivation of beans, squash and, mainly, corn, the basis of the regional diet since ancestral times,
The designation of this as an Important System of World Agricultural Heritage (Sipam) is the result of the work of the producers, which has transcended for more than 3,000 years as an integral part of the identity of the area; it is characterized by its resilience to climate changes and modernity, long life, and contributions to the conservation of both the culture and biodiversity of the Peninsula.
This process was coordinated by the administration headed by Governor Vila Dosal, through the Secretariat of Sustainable Development (SDS), through a joint effort with the three state governments of the Peninsula, the scientific and academic communities of the region, civil society organizations, and more than 600 farmers.
It involved a long process, which included documentation of the practice, preparation of the proposal “Ich kool: Mayan milpa of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico”, consultation and participation of milperos, sending the requested documentation and exchanges of information, comments, and observations, as well as the visit of the FAO Evaluation Committee.
It is worth mentioning that Sipam is a program created by FAO in 2005, with the purpose of safeguarding and promoting, at national and international levels, the ancestral agricultural systems of our planet, in addition to ensuring sustainable development for millions of small producers.
It recognizes and protects sites that stand out for their cultivation schemes, biodiversity conservation, landscapes, practices, and knowledge of inhabitants, who maintain these models and contribute to both the food security of families and the development of the countryside.
It has designated 67 models in 22 countries and currently has 13 new proposals for eight sites; in Latin America and the Caribbean, there are four, located in Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Peru, so the Mayan milpa is now the second in the Republic, which will mean a worldwide recognition of the complexity and importance of its ecological, social and cultural processes.
It implies the global valuation as a biocultural heritage of this Mayan peninsular model and, like other exceptional agricultural societies, it cultivates and maintains the local agrobiodiversity, to give continuity and security to self-sufficiency, nutrition, and social fabric.
The milpa is a traditional agroforestry system, formed by a polyculture, which forms a vital spatial dynamics of genetic resources; it is characterized by its knowledge, cultural adaptations, and diverse strategy, based on planting a wide variety of plants (corn, beans, squash, and others) and carrying out multiple economic activities.
Since its origin, it has been applied in plots, under the slash and burn technology; it is customary to have years of production and others of rest between harvests, which leads to achieving fertility, reducing the destruction of weeds, and controlling harmful pests.
For the family economy of the milpa, productive diversity is fundamental, including vegetable gardens, livestock, and handicraft activities, among others derived from the community forest, such as firewood collection, lime, and charcoal production, wood for houses, medicinal plants, hunting, and beekeeping, all of which constitute a complex system and a reference in the sustainable use of resources.
It also forms part of the Mayan cultural heritage, with its language, cosmovision, traditions, and beliefs about the existence of supernatural beings or divine owners of nature, which are reflected in the agro-ecological practice and rituals, which continue thanks to the values of solidarity, reciprocity, and accompaniment of the families of the territory.
The Government of Mauricio Vila Dosal has supported, from the very beginning, the men and women who live in the Yucatecan countryside with support to strengthen the planting of crops for self-consumption and commercialization, so that they can face the challenges and strengthen this activity.
As an example of this, his administration has promoted the delivery of seeds of beans, corn, pumpkin, as well as achiote, and habanero peppers, among others, with the objective of the families of the farmers, can cultivate their land and a better harvest. As well as the promotion of beekeeping, which is also related to the Mayan milpa system.
Likewise, cross-cutting work has been carried out to recognize and conserve the intangible heritage of the Mayan culture and in actions that promote the protection of biodiversity.
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