Mexico City, Mexico
July 18, 2006
USDA/FAS GAIN Report MX6056
Planting seeds annual report
Total Mexican planting seed
imports totaled $372.5 million in CY 2005, down 12 percent
from CY2004. Despite the overall decrease, imports from the
U.S. increased to $236.6 million, or 65.5 percent of total
imports. The United States will likely continue to be
Mexico's primary source of imported seeds for sowing in the
Seed Situation and Outlook
Mexican planting seed imports totaled $372.5 million in CY 2005,
down 13.6 percent from CY 2004. However, U.S. planting seed
exporters captured an increased share (63.5 percent) of Mexico’s
seed imports, exporting $236.6 million worth of planting seeds
to Mexico. Mexico’s exports of planting seeds increased by 3.8
percent from the previous year’s exports, reaching US$109.5
million in CY 2005.
the past year and during the first half of the current year,
concerns about product development through the use of
biotechnology have received wide coverage in the Mexican media.
The press reports and opposing international groups have led to
consumer and market-driven campaigns against biotechnology
enhanced foods and crops.
Mexico is expected to remain an attractive market for U.S. seed
exports in the short and medium term. Maintaining U.S. current
export levels to Mexico will require staying ahead of
competitors in terms of developing and introducing new varieties
that solve agronomic problems found in Mexico.
information for domestic production of seeds is not available.
However, the focus of Mexican seed trade business continues to
be on export marketing and international operations. The
Mexican seed industry is made up of individual farmers, large
multinational companies, national private seed companies,
national public research and seed production organizations such
as INIFAP, and international agricultural research centers such
as CIMMYT (The International Maize and Wheat Improvement
Center). Additionally, private companies can participate in any
phase of the seed industry from seed production and conditioning
to seed marketing and distribution.
planting seed production covers 24 different species of cereals,
vegetables, leguminous for grains and grass seeds for pastures.
Current production information available from SAGARPA indicates
the largest volume of certified planting seed production in
Mexico in decreasing order is: wheat, corn, barley, potato,
chickpeas, rice, grain sorghum, oats, beans, safflower and
soybeans. In addition to these, Mexico produces seeds for
chili, red tomatoes, green tomatoes and other vegetables of high
commercial value. However, according to SAGARPA a large portion
of planting seeds are not accounted for from small and medium
sized farmers who separate a certain amount of product from
their annual harvests to use as planting seed for the following
conditions throughout Mexico’s northern farming regions tend to
impact planting seed demand from farmers, especially those from
areas that have traditionally been planted to vegetables and
other water intensive crops. Many farmers have changed
over to crops requiring less irrigation and this seems to be the
current tendency for this dry region of Mexico.
Mexican planting seed imports totaled $372.5 million in CY 2005,
down 13.6 percent from CY 2004. In quantity terms, CY 2005
imports dropped 47.2 percent from the previous year’s total of
561,860 metric tons due to decreased demand for field crop
seeds. According to information from the Mexican Planting Seed
Association (AMSAC), this decrease was fueled by the on-and-off
drought conditions in the northern and central states of Mexico,
motivating many farmers to plant their lands to other crops that
required less water, dropping demand for imported field crop
seeds. In total field crop seed imports dropped 51 percent in
value and 65 percent in volume. For example, the quantity of
durum wheat seed imports decreased 43.38 percent while imports
of oat seeds decreased 41.27 percent. However, imports of grass
seeds, leguminous seeds, ‘other’ forage seeds, and ‘other’
vegetable seeds increased, recovering some of the overall loss
in both value and volume of trade.
The U.S. was
Mexico's primary source of imported seeds for sowing in CY
2004. U.S. seed exporters captured 63.5 percent of the Mexican
seed market in value terms in CY 2005, up from a market share of
45 percent in CY 2004. Despite the decline in overall exports,
the value of U.S. shipments exported to Mexico grew 22.9 percent
from the previous year to $236.6 million in CY 2005, as
shipments of field crop seeds, mainly from Canada, were replaced
by increased sales of U.S. imports in nearly all of the other
There was an
increase of 3.8 percent in the total value of planting seeds
exported by Mexico in CY 2005 to $109.5 million due largely to
an increase in ‘leguminous’ seed trade. However, the increase
was tempered by a drop in export volume of ‘other vegetable’
seeds, as some of Mexico’s agricultural programs required
additional quantities of seeds; thereby reducing quantity of
seeds available for exports.
terms, Mexico’s seed policy requires that domestic or imported
seed sales and seeds exported from Mexico conform to prescribed
standards, and meet marketing, labeling and packaging
requirements. All seed sold in Mexico for most crops, whether
locally produced or imported, must come from a registered
variety. Only seed that has gone through Mexico’s established
grading system may be sold by variety name. Limiting access to
the market for seed that does not conform to these provisions
helps to preserve attractive price levels.
bill concerning planting seeds (LAW FOR PROTECTING AND
DEVELOPING SEEDS) was submitted for approval to the Agricultural
Committee in the Mexican Lower House who then voted and approved
the proposed law on April 28, 2005. Thereafter, the proposed
bill was sent to the Mexican Senate, where it was further
reviewed and modified by the Senate’s Agricultural and
Legislative Studies Committees. The proposed law is currently
titled FEDERAL LAW FOR PRODUCTION, CERTIFICATION AND SEED TRADE
and was returned to the Lower House on April 20, 2006, where it
awaits further review and/or approval. In its current form, the
proposed law is calling for a modern legal framework that would:
- Take into account all
types of seeds, not only those that are subject to an
external process of qualification and certification.
- Strengthen seed trade
regulation to assure farmers of the quality of seeds
- Mandate the
establishment of the National Seed System as a coordinating
mechanism and a Fund for Support and Incentives as its
- Clearly define the
objectives that have to be considered in applicable seed
- Establish catalogues
that offer the possibility of registering varieties of
common use allowing for official written evidence of native
or traditional varieties to promote their conservation.
- Harmonize the seed
qualification process and assign categories in accordance
with international standards that can offer guarantees to
end-users and open market possibilities in seed trade.
- Relate provisions
within the valid legal framework in a harmonized manner and
lay out elements that offer long-term perspectives
(intellectual property, biosecurity, phytogenetic
- Strengthen the role of
the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural
Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA) in matters of
vigilance and compliance with the law.
- Grant flexibility to
perform and develop applied scientific investigation.
- Promote the concept of
qualification and quality of seeds according to their
- Fortify the standards
and technical elements for the varietal characterization and
the qualification of seed characteristics.
- Allow for the creation
of Regional or State Seed Committees to promote
participation and adoption of new and improved technologies.
- Expand the management
of fines for infractions of legal provisions, thus helping
with the organization of seed trade, a principal demand from
- Establish the terms for
issuing the budgeting rules and regulations to comply with
the provisions of the law.
phytosanitary regulations on seed imports do not constitute a
significant impediment to seed trade with Mexico. Mexico
subscribes to the International Convention on the Protection of
New Plant Varieties and newly registered seed varieties are
protected under Mexico’s Federal Plant Variety Law.
is expected to drive the Mexican seed market in the future. The
evolving regulatory environment for biotech seed and their crops
will affect variety approval and marketing prospects, and U.S.
exporters should keep abreast of Mexican regulatory
developments. As consumer choice expands, consumer education
about variety characteristics will also play an important role
in marketing seed. (See Mexico Biotechnology Annual Report:
exporters, new to the Mexican market, are encouraged to contact
the following trade organizations for further information.
AGRICULTURAL TRADE OFFICE (ATO)
BRUCE ZANIN, DIRECTOR
JAIME BALMES NO. 8 - 2ND. FLOOR
11510 MEXICO, D.F.
PH. (525) 280-5291/5276; FAX. (525) 281-6093
ASSOCIATION OF SEED TRADERS (AMSAC)
OLGA CECILIA TREVINO DE LA GARZA
AV. NUEVO LEON #209 – 601 AND 602
COL. HIPODROMO CONDESA
PH. (525) 5516-0293; FAX. (525) 5272-1775
INSTITUTE OF FORESTRY, AGRICULTURE AND LIVESTOCK INVESTIGATIONS
SERAPIO RENDON # 83
COL. SAN RAFAEL
CONTACT: JOSE DE JESUS MOLINA
PH. (525) 5140-1616; FAX. (525) 5546-1150
NATIONAL SERVICE INSPECTION AND CERTIFICATION OF SEEDS
AV. PRESIDENTE JUAREZ #13
COL. EL CORTIJO
TLALNEPANTLA, ESTADO DE MEXICO
CONTACT: ENRIQUETA MOLINA MACIAS