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‘Green gold:’ Henequen exports projected to return in 2020

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Yucatán’s historic crop, henequen, is due for a comeback. Photos: Getty

A comeback for henequen in Yucatán, which brought Mérida great wealth in the 19th century, is possible thanks to a growing international interest in natural fibers.

The first harvest of 450 hectares of new henequen fields is set for 2019, and by 2020 could be cultivated at boom levels said the state secretary of rural development, Pablo Castro Alcocer,

An earlier projection had put profitable harvests at 2022.

Henequen made Mérida wealthy on a global scale when the state capital had more millionaires than any other city in the world. Mansions designed by prominent European architects transformed the city, and landmarks that exist today — the glorious Peón Contreras theater, the Gran Hotel and the elegant Paseo de Montejo — are vestiges of this time.

The golden era faded slowly in the 20th century when decreasing demand and increased competition eroded Yucatán’s dominance in the trade.

Henequen requires a lot of land and harvesting can take years after planting before the crops die after 15-20 years.

Old plantations in the center of the state were revived during the first two years of the current state administration. So far, 450 hectares/1,112 acres are planted, and another 800 hectares/1,977 acres  are on track to contribute to the yield in 2025 or 2026.

The official had no income estimates from current markets, but sees Europe and Asia as key foreign markets.

Source: Punto Medio

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