Yucatecan Maya “Milpa” receives recognition from the UN in Italy

At the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome, Italy, the recognition was awarded to the Peninsular Mayan Milpa of Yucatan, also known as “Ich Kool,” as an “Important System of the World Agricultural Heritage” (SIPAM).

This certificate was presented by the Director-General of FAO, Qu Dongyu. It is the second recognition granted to a Mexican production system as SIPAM, following the one awarded to the “Chinampas System” of Mexico City in 2017.

The Peninsular Mayan Milpa or “Ich Kool” is a complex biocultural production system developed in the states of Yucatan, Campeche, and Quintana Roo. It has evolved over time, taking into account the delicate balance that exists in the territory among biodiversity, climate, natural resources, and the needs of the producers, their families, and their communities.

Farmers Gualberto Casanova (left) and Dionisio Yam Moo stand among young corn plants in Yam Moo’s improved Milpa plot. (PHOTO: Gabriel Popkin)

This system is not only seen as a self-sufficiency and family survival strategy but also encompasses the identity, history, traditions, and worldview of an entire culture. At the same time, it provides environmental services that benefit communities and society as a whole, from the conservation of plant species to the coexistence with highly biodiverse ecosystems.

The recognition also acknowledges the daily work carried out by the milperas and milperos of the Mayan Milpa, as they are the ones who bring this agricultural system to life, which is now formally recognized as agricultural heritage of humanity.

The recognition of the Mayan Milpa of the Yucatan Peninsula as part of the world agricultural heritage is the result of continuous work by various levels of government, experts, academics, and, mainly, the milperas and milperos who, over the course of seven years, conducted extensive and meticulous work to achieve this recognition.

TYT Newsroom