1. General diagnosis of economic development
The process of modernization in Baja California Sur is essentially characterized by
the fact that its present economic activities were only just consolidated during the 1960s.
Many of them originated in an incipient and disorderly industrialization process in
conjunction with the diversification of public and private services. Some of these economic
changes included the use of technology in the agricultural sector, the processing of fishing
products, and non-metal mining, such as salt and gypsum. The process of modernization has
led to a situation where the primary products sector1 has lost its prevailing role within the
state, a fact that has been made evident during the last twenty years.2 In the 1960s, the
primary products sector was the dominant sector in the state, and consisted mainly of ranch
husbandry and riverside fishing. The economically active population (EAP) in the 1960’s was
concentrated in the primary sector and accounted for 56.1% of the total economic activity
in the state, followed by the tertiary sector with 26.16% of the work force, and, the
secondary sector with 14.42%. Thus, we see a clear growth trend of the tertiary sector3.
Employment and the economically active population: Fighting poverty is one
of the main priorities in Baja California Sur, as in all other states in the country. However,
this aim will not be attained unless productive jobs are created to ensure access to better
living conditions for the population.
It should be noted that fewer women work for a salary than men. For example, in
one particular month nationally, 89% of men of productive age said that they had worked
for a salary, in contrast to 42% of women. Among working men and women, average
schooling is seven years, but salaries for men are higher, as related to the kinds of jobs they
Primary products sector: agriculture, livestock, fishing and mining. Secondary sector: industry and processing,
especially freezing and canning of sea preserves. Tertiary sector: commerce, tourism and public administration.
See evolution of economic development in Introduction
Antonina Ivanova-Boncheva; Manuel Ángeles-Villa (eds.), Diagnóstico Estratégico de Baja California
Sur,(Strategic Diagnosis of Baja California Sur) UABCS-SEP, Mexico 2003, pp. 412-413.
perform. On average, income for men is 30% greater per hour than for women. In lower
income sectors, less than 40% of women work, while 52% work in the higher income
sectors. This is due to various reasons: women in higher income homes have, on average,
twelve years of schooling, seven years more than women in lower income homes. Many
women are housekeepers, and looking for a job is very difficult if they have no money to pay
for daycare for their children.4
As part of a program to solve gender and work issues, the government of the state
expressed the need to redefine labor, salary, and assistance policies in order to promote
reforms with a gender perspective. The government has also identified a need for poverty
eradication tools in rural and marginal urban areas through programs to train women for
productive jobs. The government must also work to create equal job and remuneration
opportunities for men and women in the various sectors of the economy. These
improvements would underscore a more equitable distribution of income and resources,
promote equitable treatment of men toward women, and increase the possibility of sharing
work and family responsibilities within households.5
At the national level, the productive age group (fifteen to sixty-four years) will
increase by almost 40% in absolute numbers by the year 2020, with a growth dynamic more
accelerated than the younger population. This means that it will be necessary to create a
little more than one million jobs per year in the coming fifteen years, and to overcome the
gaps in the education and health of teenagers and young adults.6 Here, it must be added that
employment levels in Baja California Sur are relatively high compared to the country’s mean,
notwithstanding the high population growth. Unemployment in 1980 and 1990 was 3% and
Secretary of Social Development, Programa Nacional de Desarrollo Social 2001-200 “Superación de la
Pobreza: Una Tarea Contigo” (National Program for Social Development “Overcoming poverty: a joint effort
), 1st ed. México 2001, pp.31 and 32.
Government of the State of Baja California Sur, Plan Estatal de Desarrollo, Baja California Sur 1999-2005,
(State Development Plan), Gobierno del Estado de BCS. La Paz, 1999, pp. 83-84.
Secretary of Social Development, Programa Nacional de Desarrollo Social…, Op. Cit., p.7.
2%, respectively, while the annual population growth percentage was 3.78%. In 1998, in La
Paz City the rate of open unemployment was 2.1%, while the national average was 3.2%7.
In 1996, 51% of the people working in the state had no fringe benefits, and only 40%
had social security and other benefits. Forty-one percent worked weeks of thirty-five to
forty-eight hours, while 30% worked less than thirty-four hours in a week (the latter group
is representative of the informal economy). For the same year, 21% of the employed
population was making less than minimum wage, 30% between one and two times the
minimum wages, 16% between three and five times the minimum wage, 8% from five to ten
times and only 2% was making more than ten times the minimum wages.
Another relevant topic deals with labor conditions and quality of life for migrant
workers. In 1999, an estimated 18,000 people arrived in the state and went to work in
agricultural fields in the municipality of La Paz (Valle del Carrizal and Los Planes) and in
Mulegé (Valle de Vizcaíno). In these fields, agri-businessmen hire a large number of migrant
day laborers who come mainly from the states of Guerrero, Oaxaca, and Veracruz. This
group of people lives in unfavorable conditions, as their minimal needs, such as as education,
housing, and the protection of workers and minors, are not covered. They do not have any
training to do their job and suffer marginalization and social rejection because of the
negative social stigma associated with the Indigenous populations. Under such
circumstances, migrant populations, which are the basis of agricultural work in the various
regions of the state, are vulnerable not only as a result of labor conditions, but also because
they have no opportunity to participate in social and cultural life, further contributing to
marginalization and social polarization.8
According to data from the National Urban Employment Survey performed by
INEGI, the average rate of open unemployment for the city of La Paz was 2.4 points, a
Govt. of the State, Plan Estatal de Desarrollo…, Op. Cit., pp. 60-61.
Govt. of the State, Plan Estatal de Desarrollo…,Op.Cit., pp. 61-65.
lower average than the national mean. The Mexican Institute for Social Security (IMSS)
showed a registry of 89,365 workers, both permanent and temporary, in 2002. In 2003
there were 8.3% more than in the previous year (this amounted to 6,839 new jobs). In 2003
50.4% of the jobs registered by IMSS were obtained through the State Employment Service
(SEE) (3,444 people working in a state job).9
The present administration has created a “project agenda” that in 2003 completed
eighteen projects in tourism, real estate, trade companies, and department stores.
Resources invested created 9,359 direct jobs. The government of the state reported that
during the present administration (1999-2005), forty-two projects have been finished, which
created 9,393 jobs. Of these, the most outstanding ones are investments in service real
estate, and the establishment and enlargement of department stores and super markets in
La Paz, Ciudad Constitución and Los Cabos. Firms that have taken advantage of these
investments include Grupo Soriana, Grupo Rufo, Grupo DORIAN’S, Tiendas Ley, and
COSTCO. The resources invested in this development have created 2,802 jobs.
Additionally, the State Law for Economic Promotion provided in-kind assistance to investors
who in turn created 1,614 direct jobs. From 1999 to 2003, some trade companies, and
service and tourism firms, have invested resources creating 3,706 permanent and 3,063
Transportation and marketing
One indicator of economic and social development is the extent to which
municipalities are linked and integrated. Density in the network of roads is also a significant
indicator. Estimates show that municipalities in Baja California Sur have significant
Govt. of the State of Baja California Sur. V Informe de Gobierno 2003-2004,(V Report on the administration
of the state), Lic. Leonel Cota Montaño, pp. 127-128.
Idem, pp. 114-115
differences. The state average is 21m/km² of paved roads per municipality. This is distributed
as follows between: Los Cabos (53m/km²); Loreto (36m/km²); la Paz (24m/km²); Comondú
(23,/km²) and, below the mean, Mulegé, with 11m/km². It may be said that the poor
development of road infrastructure in Mulegé is a hindrance to its integration as region and,
hence, its economic take off.11
On the other hand, the network of federal roads in the state, managed by the
Secretary of Communications and Transport (SCT) reports 1,154.09 kilometers (717.12
miles) of roads with two lanes and 45.70 kilometers (28.4 miles) with four lanes.
Additionally there are still more than 800 meters (874.89 yards) of the La Paz-International
Airport boulevard that are awaiting completion. Traffic volume on the boulevard is
presently 2,000 cars a day, a number far beyond the capacity of the road structure, and
which was designed over thirty years ago. For example, in 1960 the largest and heaviest
motor car was ten tons and had three axes, in contrast to 66.5 ton vehicles with nine axes
authorized to use the road in 1994. Considering the obsolete geometry in some stretches,
the existence of dangerous intersections on high traffic roads, and the lack of signals at
critical junctions, it is a matter of public safety to upgrade federal and state road
Another factor impacting the production potential of the state is the public
transportation system for passengers and merchandise. This is, no doubt, a strategic
element for economic development in the state and, from this point of view, partly
determines the production and distribution costs for goods and services. Besides being an
essential factor for the growth potential of regions in Baja California Sur. Unfortunately for
Government of the State of Baja California Sur. Programa Estratégico de Ordenamiento Territorial (PEOT)
(Strategic Program of Territory Ordering), preliminary digital version, p. 97.
Govt. of the State, Plan Estatal de Desarrollo…, Op. Cit., pp. 135-136.
the users, service providers for passengers use vehicles which are ten years old, while cargo
trucks are twenty years old on average.13
In spite of the fact that Baja California Sur is the state with the longest coast line in
the country, it only has seven ports, one of which is industrial, two deploy commercial
activities and serve the main production and consumption centers, two serve the passage
from the continent and the peninsula, and the remaining two are devoted to fishing and
tourism activities. The most important port in the state is Pichilingue, which does not use
100% of its installed infrastructure, mainly due to the lack of high-technology in
telecommunications to help with the handling of merchandise and developing multi-mode
Investment and foreign trade
As part of the strategy for economic and productive development in the state, the
state government set the 2003 goal of strengthening the fishing, aquaculture, agriculture and
livestock, trade, services, industry, and mining sectors, in coordination with federal, state,
and municipal agencies, by reconciling these agencies with the interest and demands of
society. Projects such as the sea town Costa Baja, Bahía de los Sueños and El Nogote
(already working) are actively creating more jobs than the national mean.14
Foreign investment in 1997 was mainly in services, with 63.4% of the total, followed
by trade (16.7%), industry (7.4%), communications and transportation (3.4%), mining (2.6%),
and agricultural and livestock (2.3%). “Direct foreign investment companies are mainly
located in the municipalities of Los Cabos (32% in Cabo san Lucas and 26.4% in San José del
Idem, pp. 141-147.
Newscast Panorama Informativo, host: Miguel Ángel Ojeda, Promomedios California, March 24th 2004, La
Cabo) and La Paz (34.2%). The investment in other municipalities amounted to only 3.2%.
The main foreign investors in economic development include the United States (72.86%),
Canada (10.1%), the United Kingdom, Germany, and France (with 1.6% each), and Japan
Exports are considered the most dynamic sector in Mexican economy, and the one
creating the most jobs. Recently, exports have contributed to more than half the growth in
GDP.16 Baja California Sur mainly exports salt, gypsum, pulse and vegetables, plants and
roots, fish (crustaceous and mollusk), processed meat and fish, edible fruits, and bitter rind.
The main importing markets are: for fishing United States, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan,
Hong Kong, Spain, and Chile; for mining, Japan, Korea, United States, Canada, Taiwan, New
Zealand, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Panama, Puerto Rico, and the
Dominican Republic: and for the agricultural sector, France, Spain, United States, Canada,
and Switzerland. In contrast, the main imported products are boilers and machines,
electrical equipment and materials, meat and edible remains, toys and recreation items, and
motorcars and tractors.17
Limiting factors and characteristics of economic development in the
The different municipalities experience different sets of problems that hinder their
economic development due to diverse situations. The city of La Paz, for example, has
managed to put a hold on economic crisis through the exploitation of groundwater,
resulting in limited water availability both for human consumption and for production. This
city also shows a worrisome unemployment rate among young people who have finished
Govt. of the State, Plan Estatal de Desarrollo…,Op. Cit., p. 21.
Secretary of the interior, Programa de Comercio Exterior y Promoción de la Inversión 2001-2006 (Foreign
Trade and Investment Promotion Program), Plan Nacional de Desarrollo, México, D.F., 2001, p.23.
Govt. of the State, Plan Estatal de Desarrollo…, Op. Cit., p. 20.
higher education due to the focus on service sector-related economic activities (66% of the
EAP). Tourism is growing at a moderate pace (though in 1999, tourist inflow was less than
in the two previous years). The presence of middlemen increases prices, and is a problem
for the commercial sector. The failure to develop the manufacturing industry, coupled with
the lack of development of marketing channels has hindered the crafts sector. Fishing is only
small-scale. The lack of water, as well as financial problems stemming from credit-access
issues are obstacles for agricultural growth. High transportation costs slow down the
distribution of inputs and food from the continental massif. Finally, high rates of alcoholism,
drug addiction, single mothers, and AIDS among the younger population, resulting from a
lack of identity and values, and limited options for recreation, also affect the performance of
the economically active population.18
For San Ignacio, factors preventing balanced development include: the lack of
diversification in productive activities, the lack of integration along the chain of production-
marketing, and low levels of job creation. The result is low levels of income, the over
exploitation of natural resources, and deficiencies in infrastructure and basic services (roads,
drinkable water, and electric power).
Loreto’s economy is highly concentrated in international tourism (sport fishing) that
is now undergoing a period of stagnation, and which benefits only 10% of the population.
Commercial fishing has not taken off (scale species, squid and/or sport fishing) and there is a
lack of an agricultural livestock sector.
In the municipality of Comondú, specifically the Valley of Santo Domingo, there has
been over-exploitation of the aquifer, and there are estimates that it only has a useful life of
ten more years. The majority of land use has been for the raising of livestock rather than for
agriculture. This region has the largest irrigation district in the state in spite of the fact that
Govt. of the state of Baja California Sur, Programas de Desarrollo Regional 2001, (Regional Development
Programs), La Paz, BCS, p. 14.
the physical soil infrastructure is badly damaged, with significant levels of salt residue, and
pollution by agro-chemicals and the use of heavy machinery. High production and marketing
costs have resulted in economic and financial bankruptcy of the agricultural sector and milk
livestock is in jeopardy. Of the 733 wells in the region, 350 are at or below 40% efficient,
and 100 of these are unsalvageable due to a high degree of salinity. Additionally, irrigation
infrastructure and equipment is obsolete. Unfortunately, the extensive livestock industry (in
Agostaderos) reports annual losses, perhaps as a result of the recent droughts. Additionally,
the potential for tourism in the region is considerably limited because of the emphasis on
gray whale watching. 19
Comondú’s infrastructure for economic development needs to be improved and/or
broadened. Additionally, communications must be enhanced as they are the main column of
development. Roads in the municipality add up to 189.1 km (117.5 miles) of trans-peninsula
highway (federal, paved), 130.5 km (81.1 miles) of state roads (paved), 25 km (15.53 miles)
of paved rural roads, 418 km (260 miles) of earth roads (371.2 km [231miles] of which are
covered with insulating material) and trails (114 km or 71 miles). The municipality has
several seaports. The deep-sea port of San Carlos operates with a sea cargo volume of
79,805 tons a year, with a storing capacity of 218,394 tons. The seaport of Adolfo López
Mateos is second in importance. Both ports have deteriorated. There is an airport in Ciudad
Constitución (1,600m [1,750 yards] long, a runway of 1,100m [1,203 yards]), one strip in
Adolfo López Mateos of 870m (951 yards), a runway in Bahía Magdalena that is 750m (820
yards) long, and another one in San Ysidro, with 470m (514 yards) of paved runway. All
communities in the municipality have telephone lines, post offices, and telegraph networks.
In Ciudad Constitución, there are banking institutions, microwave stations, and cellular
telephone service that covers almost the entire municipality, a radio broadcasting station
Govt. of the state, Programas de Desarrollo Regional…, Op. Cit., pp. 6-10
that transmits both AM and FM signals, and three repeating television channels with
coverage throughout the entire municipality. Rural telephone service is in need of
Trade activity is closely linked to agricultural and livestock in the valley of Santo
Domingo, and as a result the municipality has undergone stagnation resulting from poor
investment in traditional crops. This trend can be seen in the decrease in number of firms
affiliated with the municipal Chamber of Commerce (in 1999 it had 270 members, in 2002,
only 179). Lack of communications between the area and the continental massif has had a
negative impact on the flow of trade, as has high transportation costs (mainly from the use
of ferries for transport), and the limited cold network infrastructure to preserve perishable
goods. An attempt will be made to provide facilities and incentives for business in the region
to stay on and become stronger by promoting economic activities, mainly in the towns of
Insurgentes and Constitución, and in the two major seaports.20
The economy of the municipality of Los Cabos is considered to be growing and is
the soundest in the state. The economy is based mainly on investments in tourism,
construction, and commerce, all of which are job-creating activities. Tourism is still the axis
upon which a large number of economic activities are developing, assisting the municipality
in keeping growth rates above the national average, maintaining a low unemployment ratio,
and making the municipality an attractive area for job-seekers. The promotion of orderly
and equitable growth in the municipality has become a goal for the administration. The state
seeks to consolidate the municipality as the best tourist destination in the country, while
taking care not to deepen social debts and to avoid increasing pressure on natural resources
and the environment. Tourism, undoubtedly, results in imbalances between those competing
in the sector, and further adds to the disparity among other sectors such as agriculture,
City Council of Comondú. Plan Municipal de Desarrollo, 2002-2005, (Municipal development Plan), p. 55-
fishing, and public administration because it creates informal economies and
underemployment. Thus, productive investment must be promoted, particularly in areas
that help small businesses and allow for better distribution of economic benefits derived
However, the economic boom in Los Cabos is relative. Though it has allowed for
income levels above the national average, the high levels of investment by the private sector
with the construction of hotel chains and spaces for residential and commercial
infrastructure must be underscored. The economy is highly concentrated in tourism, which
is highly dependent upon the US economy. Also important to note is the ,pressure exerted
on the environment and natural resources as a result of tourism., The accelerated and
disorderly demographic growth in the area and the recent influx of migration has led to the
social and community problems described in the Community Development sections of this
According to Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics, Geography, and Informatics
(INEGI) 62% of the population over the age of twelve is economically active in the
municipality of Los Cabos (in the state, the figure was 54.9%). In that year, the EAP reported
that the unemployment rate in the municipality was only 0.4%. This rate is minimal when
compared to the national average (2.4%) or the state average (2.3%). The breakdown of the
job sector in the municipality is as follows: 22.8% tourism, 16.4% construction, and 15.3%
trade. The municipality has low inflation levels, there is monetary and interest rate stability,
a low but stable growth rate in purchasing power, a decrease in unemployment, and an
increase in productive investment in the private sector has been favored. However, the fact
City Council of Los cabos. Plan Municipal de Desarrollo, 2002-2005, pp. 13, 26-27, 31 68 and 116.
that the area depends highly on the supply of goods and inputs from the rest of the country
and from the United States results in higher market prices.22
The Availability of Energy Resources
Economic development in Baja California Sur continues to be dependent on
availability of renewable natural resources, primarily water. Tourism, agriculture, and
fisheries are all affected by the diminishing groundwater resources in Baja California Sur.
Desalination is being considered as the next solution, but water distribution infrastructure
must be repaired and upgraded to ensure that additional resources are not wasted.
The availability of energy resources must also be considered if Baja California Sur is
to grow sustainably. First, natural energy sources, such as oil, natural gas and hydro, which
are abundant in other parts of Mexico, are not found within the state. Also, in the case
of oil and natural gas, the state does not have an energy distribution system (i.e.pipelines),
making production and distribution very expensive. Second, the Baja California peninsula is
the only part of the country that is not connected to the main electricity grid23, which has
forced reliance in Baja California Sur on local power stations at Punta Prieta in La Paz and
Puerto San Carlos in Comondú, both of which are using oil as a primary fuel source. As
neither of these facilities currently has scrubbers installed, there are resulting environmental
health impacts to those communities downwind. Third, a geothermal electricity plant is
planned for Santa Rosalía, but there is presently no estimated timeframe for its
completion. Fourth, because of its abundance of sun, Baja California Sur is ideally suited
for concentrating solar power plants (CSP). Solar has the potential to provide a vast, low-
cost source of alternative energy but land use issues need to be considered given the given
VIII City Council of Los cabos. Plan Municipal de…, Op.Cit., pp. 48,55,57 and 67-69
Mexico has a national interconnected power grid divided into four regional divisions: Northern, Baja Norte,
Baja Sur, and Southern (the largest). Northern Mexico (including North Baja) is connected to the U.S. grid, and
additional interconnections are planned. Baja California Sur is the only area of the country that is not inter-
connected to either the U.S. or Mexican grid. Source: U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Agency.
the large "footprint" that a CSP typically occupies. On the other hand, CSP plants have one
primary advantage, namely that they produce no environmental contaminants or greenhouse
Clearly, Baja California Sur’s expected growth will fuel a dramatic increase in the
demand for electricity from the state's industrial, commercial, and residential sectors. A key
driver in the state's energy demands will be its thirst for water. Because depleting
groundwater resources and expanded urban growth in Los Cabos, La Paz and Loreto, the
state will ultimately need to turn to desalinization facilities as a primary source of potable
water in the future. Desalination facilities require substantial energy resources to operate.
Hence, failure to effectively identify sustainable renewable and nonrenewable energy
resources for Baja California will seriously challenge the state's prospects for long-term
Industries: manufacturing, mining and fishing
Baja California Sur’s industry is characterized as being 88% micro-enterprises, with
the remaining 12% ranging in size. In 1993, the micro-enterprise sector’s share of the GDP
of the state was 6%, as compared to the commercial sector whose share was 26%, personal
and social services 22%, and agriculture and fishing was 9%. The state’s relative growth has
been centered around micro-enterprise for final consumption goods (food and beverages),
which has a small share in the retention and creation of value added. It must also be
underscored that the industrial sector has not been able to increase job creation, because,
despite growth in the number of stores, people employed by stores has decreased from 3.5
employees per store in 1993 to 2.4 employees per store in 1996.24
Govt. of the State, Plan Estatal de Desarrollo…, Op. Cit., p. 124.
The manufacturing industry has not had any significant development in the state,
mainly due to, among other factors, the lack of raw materials and a small market. This
sector had a share of 6.08% of the state GDP in 1993 ($375,398,000 pesos or $34.8 million
USD), while in 1997 the share was 7.13% ($1,133,588,000 pesos or $105.1 million USD).25
In Baja California Sur, the manufacturing sector is concentrated in the municipality of
La Paz with 553 of the 1,340 registered manufacturing units, with Mulegé, Comondú, and
Los Cabos next in importance. It must be noted that the manufacturing sector consists
mainly of small businesses (91.5% of the units have less than ten employees and 55% less
than two people employed). Contrary to other border regions where the exporting
“maquila” industry has shown significant growth, thus abating unemployment, manufacturing
in Baja California Sur has had only modest development, with the number of maquila units
actually decreasing (between 1990 and 1999, the number of maquiladoras shrank from
eleven to eight).26 In spite of this fact, the number of jobs created during the same
timeframe increased from 959 to 2,659, peaking at 2,703 in 1997.27
On the other hand, 67% of production in the construction industry is the result of
micro-enterprise, and is characterized by employing former agriculture workers, and
migrants immigrating from the south and southeastern regions of Mexico and from Central
America. This workforce is often considered “cheap labor,” earning salaries that do not
allow for a decent standard of living.28 The construction industry’s share in the state’s GDP
has increased consistently from 1993 to 1997, going from $289,667,000 pesos ($26.9 million
USD) in 1993 to $1,441,215,000 pesos ($133.6 million USD) in 1999, and mainly focused on
Antonina Ivanova-Boncheva; Manuel Ángeles-Villa, Diagnóstico Estratégico de..., Op. Cit., p. 268.
Govt. State, Programa Estratégico de Ordenamiento..., Op. Cit., p. 26.
Antonina Ivanova-Boncheva; Manuel Ángeles-Villa, Diagnóstico Estratégico de..., Op. Cit., p. 268
Govt. of the State, Programa Estratégico de Ordenamiento…,Op. Cit., p. 26.
Antonina Ivanova-Boncheva; Manuel Ángeles-Villa, Diagnóstico Estratégico de..., Op. Cit., p. 268.
Mining in Baja California Sur has an outstanding place in the country’s economy for
non-metal ore production including sea salt, gypsum, phosphorite, and phosphoric rock
concentrate. Presently, the state is not a significant producer of metal ores, although in the
past it was the country’s most important copper producer.30 Production of salt, gypsum, and
phosphorite has significantly contributed to the economic development of the state,
providing raw materials for other industries and creating jobs. However, mining’s share of
the state and national GDP decreased between 1988 and 1993.31
The largest salt mines in the world are in Guerrero Negro. The island of San Marcos
in Santa Rosalía has the largest deposits of world-class quality calcium sulfate in the country,
which is presently being exploited by the Mexican government. Limestone deposits for
hydrated lime are being mined in Todos Santos. Phosphoric rock is found in Adolfo López
Mateos and San Juan de la Costa (the latter supplies close to 40% of the phosphate in the
country). Magnesite is produced in the Sierra San José de Castro, together with asbestos,
talcum powder, chromite and copper. There is copper in Santa Rosalía and gold and silver in
El Triunfo and San Antonio. In Santa Rosalía and Concepción, manganese deposits have been
exploited in the past. According to the Secretary of the Interior, in 1987, approximately 48%
chromium oxide was estimated to exist in reserves of this metal in the bays of Sebastián
Vizcaíno and Magdalena. There are also metals like molybdenum, titanium, tungsten and
cobalt, plus the possibility to exploit hydrocarbons.32
The mining industry in the state depends mainly on the extraction of non-metal ores,
specifically the production of sea salt by Exportadora de Sal, S.A. de C.V. (ESSA) and
exploitation of gypsum by the private Mexican companies Compañía Occidental Mexicana,
S.A. de C.V. and COAPAS, S.A. de C.V. In 2003, there was a total investment of
Govt. of the State., Plan Estatal de Desarrollo…, Op. Cit., p. 128
Antonina Ivanova-Boncheva; Manuel Ángeles-Villa, Diagnóstico Estratégico de..., Op. Cit., p. 268.
Emigdio Z. Flores, Geosudcalifornia: geografía, agua y ciclones, (Geo-South California: geography, water
and cyclons) UABCS, México 1998, p. 6-7.
$1,011,562,917 pesos ($93.8 million USD). ESSA produced close to six million tons of sea
salt, with a value of $509,800,000 pesos ($47.3 million USD) with a sales volume of
6,260,000 metric tons (6.9 million tons), with a total $718,100,000 pesos ($66.6 million
USD), employing 950 workers. 99.6% of production went abroad (in order of importance)
to Japan, the United States, Korea, Canada and Taiwan. The Compañía Occidental Mexicana
produced 1,440,000 metric tons (1.6 million tons) of ground gypsum, with a value of
$100,880,000 pesos ($9.4 million USD) and the sales of 1,420,000 tons (1.57 million tons)
with a value of $113,450,000 pesos ($10.5 million USD), employing 140 people. Its
production went 100% abroad to the United States, Japan, Costa Rica, Colombia and
Ecuador, in order of importance. On the other hand, the Compañía Minera Coapas
produced 800,000 metric tons (881,849 tons) with an estimated value of production and
sales of $80 million pesos ($7.4 million USD), employing ninety people. Its production is
mainly exported to the United States, Canada, and Costa Rica. Other regions of the country
purchase part of it as well.33
The fishing industry presently has twenty-nine processing plants that focus their
efforts on thermal processes for pasteurized freshwater crab, lobster (cooked, frozen, and
alive), squid (pre-cooked frozen), abalone, clam and canned conch, sardines, macharel and
squid remains (reduction), fresh-frozen and frozen for crustaceous, fish and
elasmobranquios (sharks and rays in filets and glazed), and oysters, whose selection and
cleansing (only of epibiontes) is done in platforms neighboring the harvesting area. In 2000,
the Secretary of Health, the then Secretary of the Environment, Natural Resources and
Fisheries (SEMARNAP), and the state government undertook a sanitary diagnosis of the
plants based on two aspects: best practices of sanitation and hygiene and the application of a
control and risk analysis system of critical points (HACCP). This exercise helped measure
Govt. of the State., V Informe de Gobierno…, Op. Cit., pp. 110-111.
compliance with standards NOM-120-SSA1-1994 and NOM-128-SSA1-1994 to ensure the
quality of fishing products. The major prevailing deficiencies are the deterioration of
infrastructure, obsolete equipment, and lack of a best practices program for processing. It is
important to note that only two plants in the state have attained registration with the
export registry of the European Community.34
Specifically in the municipality of Comondú, traditional fishing methods prevail.
Estimates point to the fact that 42% of the EAP are dedicated to this activity and only 5%
work in the fishing industry (technicians and personnel in the plant, since the rest are
temporary employees, seasonally recruited from neighboring villages). These companies
have the following as major processing lines: canned tuna and sardines, frozen fresh shrimp,
squid in brine and fish meal as byproduct, pasteurized freshwater crab, canned abalone in
brine, fresh frozen crab, fresh frozen fish, canned macharel, cooked frozen lobster, gigantic
squid, and fresh frozen clams.35
Beginning in the 1970s, and to a large extent as a result of actions undertaken by
FONATUR, one of the most important economic activities in the state has been tourism.
However, there has not been proper planning for the sector to guide, evaluate, diversify,
and channel the resources (financial, material, human, and natural) needed for a balanced
development. Los Cabos is a clear example of this. On the one hand, tourism infrastructure
has a well recognized international prestige, and on the other, settlements are growing very
quickly (people attracted by jobs) and have surpassed the capacity of the state and municipal
governments to satisfy the demand for services.36
Information given by the Sub-delegation of Fisheries. SAGARPA.
City Council of Comondú, Plan Municipal de…, Op. Cit., pp. 45-46.
Govt. of the State, Plan Estatal de Desarrollo…, Op. Cit., p. 117.
“Economic structure underwent important changes during the period
between 1970-1999, showing a clear orientation toward the tertiary sector, which is
the result of the existence of valuable tourist resources, and also of the action of
powerful foreign factors and interests. In summary, the state has followed a pattern
of behavior which is characterized by a decrease of the GDP share of the primary
and secondary sector, together with spuriously growing tertiary sector.”37
The result is that tourism is the fastest growing activity that has a significant impact on state
economy. Also, there is a trend toward diversification, since adventure tourism or
“ecotourism” are rapidly developing and now include more activities, attracting a larger
number of tourists who are increasingly interested in nature.38
Based on an assessment about the fitness of the landscape for tourism, the territory
was considered to have a medium rating, after evaluating eighteen units on a scale ranging
from marginal to moderately apt, 66.5% of the entire territory was rated inept for tourism.
The potential that the territory has for tourism is related to its high ecological values, which
presupposes that the development of tourism is essentially linked to nature, especially in the
sierras, the coastline, and the islands.In terms of mid- and long-term planning, this will bring
about competitive advantages at the regional and international levels.39
Hotel infrastructure had a great thrust forward after the promotion of tourism in the
1970s, and in the year 2001 it reached 11,686 rooms in 228 establishments. Of these
rooms, 55% are concentrated into 16% of the establishments. The municipality of Los
Cabos, after the creation of the Centro Integralmente Planeado (Integrally Planned Center)
(CIP), has the largest tourism infrastructure, offering 68% of the total number of rooms in
the state: 5,663 are five star and 1,342 are four star (the rates are the highest in the
country). La Paz offers 2,067 rooms, 16% of which are five star and 19% are four star.
Loreto offers 654 rooms, 60% of which are five star and 7% four star. Comondú offers 321
rooms, 52% are economy class and 21% are three and two stars. Mulegé offers 653 rooms,
Govt. of the State, Programa Estratégico de Ordenamiento…,Op. Cit., p. 21.
Ecoparque, Isla san José, Caracterización Ambiental: Isla san José (Environmental characterization: San José
Island), Cuaderno 1, La Paz, BCS., 2003, p.1.
Govt. of the State, Programa Estratégico de Ordenamiento…, Op. Cit., p. 60
60% of which are not classified, 21% are four star and the rest are classified as three and
For the year 2003, accommodation supply was 12,953 rooms, of which 85% are
economy class, 70% are in Los Cabos, 17% in La Paz, 5% in Loreto and 8% in Comondú and
Mulegé. There was a 4% increase compared to 2002.41
Percentage of Hotel Rooms in Baja California Sur by
Municipality in 2003
Loreto La Paz
Accommodations in Baja California Sur in 2003
During the period 1993-1998, tourism activity increased by 75%. Domestic tourism
varied 0.45% between 1997 and 1998, while foreign tourism increased 16% during the same
period. Los Cabos stood out with a 19% increase. The main destination for domestic
tourists is La Paz where 68% stayed in 1998, followed by Los Cabos at 20%, Mulegé at 7%,
and Comondú and Loreto with 5% each. The municipality of Los Cabos is the main
attraction for foreign tourists, where 81% of hotels are concentrated. The municipality of La
Paz has the second highest number of hotels with 8% of the total, followed by Loreto with
6%, and finally Mulegé and Comondú with 3% and 2%, respectively. As a result of tourist
Antonina Ivanova-Boncheva; Manuel Ángeles-Villa, Diagnóstico Estratégico de..., Op. Cit., pp. 290-291.
Govt of the State, V Informe de Gobierno…, Op. Cit., p. 95
inflow, economic benefits for the tourism sector increased by 34% in the period 1997-1998.
Economic earnings resulting from tourism in the period 1993-1998 increased 9.6 times.42
There is no accounting done in the state to measure the actual economic impact of
tourism as a whole, therefore it is only possible to consider tourism activities included in
the GDP numbers accounting for trade, restaurants, and hotels. In spite of the fact that this
division does not consider all activities, “… it accounted for almost 26% of the state product
in 1970, went up to 28.3% in 1975, and, although slightly decreased in 1980 to 27.34%,
already in 1985 its share was 33% and 34%; ever since, it has been consistent at 20% of GDP
on average.” Between 1993 and 1999, the services sector accounted for close to 70% of the
In Baja California Sur, there is little integration between tourism activities and the
primary and secondary sectors, so there has been little effort to create production links
with tourism. The fact that tourism is geared toward foreigners explains why demand is
mainly for imported goods, as well as the fact that local producers find it hard to compete in
the marketplace. Foreign direct investment (FDI) can illustrate the importance of the
services sector in the economy of the state. FDI in the state during the 1994 to 2001 period
amounted to 0.4% of the country’s total, in an accrued way ($262.5 million USD). Currently,
there are 987 companies investing in Baja California Sur (4.5% of the country’s total), 74.3%
of which are from the United States. 17/5.1.3 (pp. 287)
“… Investor preferences are in the services sector, which receives 75.4% of foreign
direct investment (hotels and other temporary accommodation services accounts for
almost the entirety of these investments, by contributing 71.6% to service industry
investments. DFI is geographically concentrated in the municipalities of La Paz (34%)
and Los Cabos (63%), as axis of the economy of Baja California Sur and, especially,
because they have the most dynamic population, tourism, and services center in the
Govt. of the State., Plan Estatal de Desarrollo…,Op. Cit., p. 22
Antonina Ivanova-Boncheva; Manuel Ángeles-Villa, Diagnóstico Estratégico de..., Op. Cit., p. 286-288.
When compared to the northern border states of the country, Baja California Sur
has the highest level of tourism investments. Currently there are 217 companies invested in
hotels and restaurants, 102 in financial services, and seventeen transportation and
communications companies. From January 1994 to December 1997, companies with foreign
share made investments in the amount of $63.4 million USD, “an amount which is 0.2% of
the total foreign investment that came into the country during that period ($32,507,800
Baja California Sur faces a challenge by trying to best use its natural resources and
islands without degrading them in the process. Tourism needs several levels of basic
structure to serve the thousands of people who are demanding a low impact on natural
resources and the landscape.45 Possible strategies to promote sustainable tourism
development in Baja California Sur would include the coordination of state government
policies with federal policies, to promote the diversification of tourism based on regions,
and to consider options such as nautical, ecological, historical-cultural, adventure, desert and
the sea tourism, and to promote Baja California’s mission heritage by reconnection the
Currently, the administration is planning to set up a permanent system for the
professional training and promotion of diversified and sustainable tourism in the state, and
to undertake activities to promote and divulge the potential for recreation and investment
in the state.46 As a starting point for this development, work has begun on the “Project Mar
de Cortés,” previously called “Escalera Náutica,” to make the best use of the potential
market opened by the building of 33,000 spaces for docking in twenty harbors, ten of which
are in Baja California Sur: Isla de Cedros, Punta Abreojos, San Juanico, San Carlos, Cabo San
Govt. of the State, Plan Estatal de Desarrollo…, Op. Cit., p. 21.
Ecoparque Isla San José. Caracterización Ambiental..., Op. Cit., p. 2.
Govt. of the State, Plan Estatal de Desarrollo…, Op. Cit., p. 119.
Lucas, San José del Cabo, La Paz, Puerto Escondido, Loreto, Mulegé, and Santa Rosalía. This
project has shown that the services sector, through the travel industry, is a sound choice for
investments in development, as shown by its remarkable consistency even after the attacks
of September 11, 2001.
The five states that make up the area of the Sea of Cortés and that are involved in
this project “provide choices for many Mexicans including those who cannot find work in
the region, people coming from afar, businessmen of all sizes, including those who want to
become a specialized tourist guide and those who wish to invest $100 million USD in a large
real estate development.” The challenge, therefore, is not only to get to know the region,
but to generate “a basic critical mass” that may be originated by nautical and nature tourism.
There are plans for twenty-seven new docking points for yachts, all of which are expected
to have all the necessary services for tourists and boats: resting points, repair, assistance,
and provision areas. Large marinas that are already working are being considered, such as
Cabo San Lucas, La Paz, Ensenada, and up to five mobile marinas. Currently, there are
fourteen marinas, five of which are operating and nine which have basic functions but are in
need of additional investment. Total forecasts anticipate 3,000 docking places distributed in
water and land (dry marinas), of which 2,500 will be new positions.47
There are plans to create an operating and franchising company (SINGLAR) together
with private investors to develop infrastructure and provide services such as temporary
docking, means to run boats aground and dry docking, food sales and common use
products, telephone and satellite TV, fuel supply for boats and cars, migration services, radio
communications, emergency assistance, and boat dragging. They will also function as a
center for tourist information, minor repairs, spare parts sales, and temporary
accommodations, all at international market prices. These stop-over locations are planned
Idem., pp. 36-38.
to be self-sustainable and environmentally friendly to further entice investment. The marina
systems will reuse residual waters, utilize waste collecting systems, and permanently
monitor water quality, with the goal of preventing and attending to environmental
The “Sea of Cortés Project” is facing additional two major challenges for tourism.
The most serious problem is the lack of drinkable water (due to the over-exploitation of
water mantles, since agricultural activity uses up to 90% of the water available in the area,
with an average efficiency of 40%). The other problem entails the unbalances in tourism
development, which are sometimes extreme. For destinations like Los Cabos there is a
sound infrastructure that, albeit with some restraints, satisfies demand, while in other
locations, such as Loreto, tourism inflow must be increased. During 2001 and 2002, the
Secretary of Tourism, state and municipal government, and the private initiative undertook
fifteen projects in the region, amounting to $84.3 million pesos ($7.8 million USD) and in
2003 more than $58 million pesos ($5.4 million USD) were channeled. It is also predicted
that in the last three channels of the present administration, $1,400,000,000 pesos ($129.8
million USD) of fiscal resources or credits will be channeled through FONATUR.49
The lack of capital and funding has resulted in hardship in rural areas, where the
best-case scenario would be to develop agricultural activity on the basis of greater efficiency,
scientific development, and the gradual replacement of labor by technology. In Baja
California Sur, this activity is concentrated in the municipality of Comondú and the rest in
small units spread across the state.50
Ibid., pp. 40-42.
Ibid., p. 34-46.
FONATUR, Escalera Náutica del Mar de Cortés, (The nautical ladder of the Sea of Cortés) Ediciones
Especializadas e Imágenes S.A. de C.V., México 2003, p. 26-30.
Corn was the most significant crop in the 1999-2000 agricultural cycle, in so far as
size of planted area. Yet there are other cyclic and perennial crops that are technology
intensive and will soon displace corn. Agriculture has begun to show features of
diversification, not in so far as planted areas, but volume and, essentially, the higher value of
production. Cyclic crops are the most important, due to their participation in the value of
production. However, corn, which is the most traditional crop in the state, is still the crop
that occupies the largest areas, though it does not provide the largest volume or value.
Crops that are important by production volume and value but do not occupy large
areas are tomato, chili, asparagus, and alfalfa,. Changes in land use are related to crops that
occupy smaller areas yield a higher value. These crops go to the domestic or foreign market
and are developed with technologies that are imported from other regions of Mexico and
Baja California Sur has an area of 7.36 million ha, (18.2 million acres) of which 61,725
(152,525 acres) have agricultural potential. Nonetheless, in the years 1994-1998, an average
of 52,600 ha (129,977 acres) of basic crops were cultivated, such as wheat, corn, and chick
peas (58% of the planted area), vegetables like tomato, chile, onion, etc. (8% of the planted
area), perennial crops (fruits and feeds) accounted for 17.5%, and industrial and other crops
amounted to 16.2% of total agriculture. Agricultural exploitation is focused in the
municipality of Comondú, specifically in the Valley of Santo Domingo, where approximately
40,000 hectares (98,842 acres) are grown, amounting to 76% of the total planted area and
yielding 47% of the state’s total agricultural production. The rest of agricultural regions, with
the remaining 12,600 ha (31,135 acres), generate 53% of the state’s total production, where
14% of the area is dedicated to basic and industrial crops, 52% to vegetables, and the rest to
Govt. of the State. Programa Estratégico de Ordenamiento…, Op. Cit., p. 22-23.
perennial crops.52 In spite of the fact that cattle raising is not the main activity in the state,
agriculture does dedicate a significant part of its production to cattle feed. For example,
alfalfa shows significant production and marketing volumes to this end. This may be
explained by the extent of technological development in cattle raising, which is less
developed than agricultural production, making cattle raising relatively extensive53.
The valley of Santo Domingo, mainly as a result of the state’s insular condition, faces
very high costs in the production and marketing of traditional crops (grains). However, the
very features of the region favor the preservation of an extraordinary phytosanitary “status”
(outstanding is the fact that it is free from the fruit fly plague), making it feasible to grow
more than fifty types of horticultural produce and more than twelve species of export
On the other hand, it is important to underscore the fact that the
“annual water supply for agricultural use amounts to 277.9 million cubic meters (73.4
billion gallons), 170 million of which correspond to the valley of Santo Domingo, or
61% of the total supply in the state. However, the state’s annual extraction is 481.3
million cubic meters (127.1 billion gallons), which means an excess exploitation of
73%, and vis-à-vis the valley of Santo Domingo, which uses 69% of the extraction
with 332.7 million cubic meters (87.9 billion gallons), which entails 96% of excess
exploitation. In this regard, it is necessary to strengthen programs and actions geared
toward an efficient use of water and an increase in availability. Progress has been
made in irrigation technology in 28% of the area used with irrigation, as well as in the
construction of major works to reload aquifers, which had not been undertaken for
over a decade”54.
Since the beginning of the present administration (2002-2005), a strategy has been
specifically designed for the municipality of Comondú, and is based on making agriculture
and cattle raising profitable, intensive, and sustainable, by integrating production up to the
last link of the production chain, and by incorporating all agriculture and cattle raising
producers. To this effect, the culture of value added was promoted for all primary activities.
Govt. of the State. Plan Estatal de Desarrollo…, Op. Cit., p. 105
Govet. of the State. Plan Estratégico de Ordenamiento…, Op. Cit., p. 24.
Govt. of the State., Plan Estatal de Desarrollo…,Op. Cit., p. 106.
The feed industry is considered an important part of the strategy given its relevance in
supporting agriculture and cattle raising.55 Thus, the main lines of action for agricultural and
cattle raising development were defined to include the promotion of coordinated schemes
to assist in marketing, agribusiness creation, and efficient water use and management,
funding, organization, training, health, and the introduction of technology into the various
stages of the food and agriculture chain. Also, among the proposals was the promotion of
organic agriculture, as well as the overall plan for sustainable agriculture and production
restructuring in areas of recurrent draught, together with the Trust Fund for Shared Risk
The main products of the agricultural and cattle raising industries are pasteurized
milk (fresh and packaged), various kinds of cheese (cotija, asadero and panela), yogurt in
different presentations, corn and wheat flour in different presentations, chick peas, beans
and packaged tomatoes, sweets and preserves, juices, tortilla and purified water, feed, grains
and brans for meat and milk producing cattle.57
In 2003, the assistance to better use irrigation water through technology employing
pressurized systems benefited 143 producers, which led to an increase of 41% compared to
2002. This has resulted in savings of up to 30% in water consumption and a decrease in
operation costs of up to 40%.
In the municipality of Los Cabos, 114,000 plants of improved mangoes were
established in 731 hectares (1,806 acres), accounting for a 168% increase as compared to
1998. Given the favorable sanitary conditions for growing this product in Los Cabos, the
United States Department of Agriculture certified the state as free from fruit flies. Regarding
the production of basic grains, Baja California Sur was self-sufficient in the production of
City Council of Comondú. Plan Municipal de…, Op. Cit., pp. 44-45.
Govt. of the State. Programas de Desarrollo Regional…, Op. Cit., pp. 37-38.
City Council of Comondú. Plan Municipal de…, Op. Cit., pp. 43-44.
wheat and corn and satisfied the local demand of industries. Further, it surpassed the set
goal of an average yield of six tons per hectare of corn reaching to 6.87 tons per hectare.
Regarding wheat, yield obtained was 6.47 tons per hectare, 92% of the set goal.
As for horticultural production, there was a 10% increase in planted areas and a
16.5% increase in production volume during 2003, contributing 48% to the total value of
production, which was $1,898,000,000 pesos ($175.9 million USD). Average yields in tons
per hectare increased 81% between 1998 and 2003, since they were more than 6.68 tons,
that is 12.1% increase58.
Derived from the adequate implementation of support programs to this sector, the
following are outstanding indicators from 2002:
Agricultural production showed an increase of 4.2%, increasing from 379,131 to
394,926 tons. There was also an incremental increase in the production of organic
produce and in vegetables. Similarly, the total production value grew 22.8%, from
$1,545,950,000 pesos ($143.3 million USD) to $1,898,312,000 pesos ($176 million
By kind of crop, the following types products have increased dramatically: 184%
increase in organics, 165% in vegetables, and 17.3% in oranges.
Cattle production showed an increase in goat raising, which increased by 4.1%,
bovine meat 5.4% and ovine meat 30.7%.
Production of fresh pasteurized milk went from 25,700,000 liters (6.8 million gallons)
to 29,600,000 liters (7.8 million gallons); which is an increase of 15%. This covers
85.8% of state consumption.59
Govt. of the State., V Informe de Gobierno…, Op. Cit., p. 103.
Govt. of the State., V Informe de Gobierno…, Op. Cit., p. 108.
Baja California Sur has the largest extension of coastline in the country (2,705.39 km
[1,681 miles], 22% of the coastline in the country), of which 1,400 km (870 miles)
correspond to the Pacific Ocean and 1,305 km (811 miles) to the Gulf of California. It has a
continental shelf of 52,303 km² (20,194 mi2)and has 224,000 hectares (553,516 acres) of
protected bodies of waters (14% of the total in the country). These bodies of water are rich
in fishing resources which are important for commerce, which includes tuna, sardines,
anchovies, clams, conch, oyster, shark, lobster, marlin, sail fish, and gold fish, the last three
of which are confined to recreational fishing. Therefore, the state has enormous fishing
potential. Over 650 species have been identified in the waters, most of which can be used
for human consumption and industrialization. Currently, twelve edible species are exploited,
such as sardines, tuna, and clams, which do not have a high commercial value but are
extracted in large volumes. Abalone, lobster, and shrimp are also exploited, have a higher
commercial value, and are the basis for profitable fisheries. Scale species, in the West, are
susceptible to being exploited, but existing volumes are still not known. The use of deep-sea
boats, with several day’s range, conservation rooms, and diesel engines are recommended.60
Baja California Sur’s share in the country’s fishing production is one of the highest. It
is mainly comprised of lobster and abalone that have high commercial value, accounting for
30% and 9%, respectively, of the total income generated by fisheries in the state. Fishing is
essentially contained to coastal areas (with 3,070 minor boats). The organizational
composition of the agents that participate in this activity hinders entering into agreements
for the efficient management of resources and the implementation of management
programs. Thus, the lack of alternatives to production occupation in other economic
Antonina Ivanova-Boncheva; Manuel Ángeles-Villa (eds.), Diagnóstico Estratégico de..., Op. Cit., p. 202.
activities causes the displacement of people to coastal communities seeking work in the
fishing industry. This causes increased pressure on sea resources.
“Fishing in the region has a poorly developed technical infrastructure, which prevents
reaching national standards of productivity and efficiency. This also affects the
industry’s ability to comply with sanitation requirements in order to market
products abroad. The lack of capital and limited access to funding sources have led
to an unequal distribution of the production capabilities and commercial
management among fishermen61.
However, there are “other actions that might impact the value of production; these are
reduced to improving the quality of products, diversification of their presentation, and the
incidence in markets that offer better prices; such is the case of species like sole, conch,
shark, tuna fish and sardine.”62
The government of the state has set forth a strategy to thrust forward and regulate the
development of fishing in a manner that will help stop environmental deterioration and
raise the standard of living and welfare for fishermen. These measures include the following:
To establish funding schemes for fishing and aquaculture activities;
To reorganize and restructure production groups of the social sector in fishing and
aquaculture by strengthening their operational, financial, and juridical capacity,
through training and technical assistance, and through modernization of the fishing
boats and the industrial plant;
To decrease the presence of middlemen and to modernize marketing schemes;
To promote the ordering of fishing and aquaculture;
To elaborate on programs to certify the quality of water bodies and their products;
To create high yielding aquaculture farms (oyster and shrimp) in adequate areas for
this activity, so as to favor the creation of jobs and to attract foreign currency;
Govt. of the State., Programa Estratégico de Odenamiento…, Op. Cit., p. 25.
Antonina Ivanova-Boncheva; Manuel Ángeles-Villa (eds.), Diagnóstico Estratégico de..., Op. Cit., p. 203.
To build laboratories of post larvae production for shrimp and mollusk seeds, and to
promote research programs in aquaculture linking research and teaching centers
During 2003, fishing was a significant source of food, jobs, and foreign currency for the
state. Product-catching was done by 207 organizations of the social sector (basically
cooperatives) and 393 companies of private permission holders, through 2,490 small boats
and forty-three mid size vessels. According to the state Secretary of Agriculture, Cattle
Raising, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA), during 2003, 171,838 tons of
sea resources were caught, showing stable volumes of production, as a result of the strategy
for sustainable use and principles of responsible fishing.
Fishing is mainly of scale fish, alga, gulfweed, tuna fish, squid and sardines; these species
were the most meaningful in fish production. Lobster catching increased 10% to reach 1,697
of whole, fresh product, making the fishery one of the best managed in the world. About
$685 million pesos ($63.5 million USD) were obtained for the marketing of fishing products,
30% more than in 2002.
In 2003, 687 permits for commercial fishing were issued, operated by sixty-six small
boats and twenty-one mid size vessels. Authorities also issued 10,739 individual permits for
recreational fishing, and 1,192 permits for boats. The Regional Center for Research on
Fisheries (CRIP-La Paz) continued undertaking studies on most species subject to
commercial fisheries, such as abalone, lobster, shrimp, clams, snails, scale fish, squid, and
sardines, among others.
In aquaculture over 22% of the country’s aquaculture is developed in Sinaloa, Sonora,
Nayarit and Baja California Sur.63 In Baja California Sur, production in aquaculture has shown
a steady increase. Oyster increased from forty-four tons in 1999 to 341 in 2003. Shrimp
FONATUR. Escalera Náutica del Mar de Cortés, Ediciones Especializadas e Imágenes S.A. de C.V., México
2003, p. 26-30
farming has become a production of choice for ejidos that have plots of land along the
coastline. For example, the farm “Loma Amarilla” increased from fifty tons of shrimp in
2000 to 301 tons in 2003. To satisfy the demand from shrimp farms in the northeast of
Mexico, 1,900,000,000 shrimp seeds were produced in 2003. Also in 2003, in order to
increase sea resources through farming and repopulation of the natural distribution of
abalone, laboratories of the North Pacific Region produced 77,500,000 larvae resulting in
40,000 juvenile of blue abalone.64
2. Problems by economic activity sector
a. Manufacture and other industries
Baja California Sur is currently facing a set of hurdles in its industrial development,
including the marginality of smaller companies vis-à-vis institutional support, lack of adequate
financial instruments, inadequate regulation, incipient business culture, little knowledge and
usage of appropriate technologies, lack of personnel qualified for the activities of the region,
and scarce and deficient infrastructure for the industrial sector and lack of promotion.
Specifically, the mining industry faces difficulties such as the excessive regulation and
long authorization times in manifestations of environmental impact, land tenure regulation
problems, and a lack of provisions to simplify the temporary occupations and passage
serfdom required by mining companies, credit granting problems (small mining is not
extensively present in the state, therefore small-scale miners do not have mining
concessions and/or registries and cannot be approved for loans). Other problems arise due
to insufficient information about geology and mining that hinders the identification of
interest areas for shot-term investment, and a lack of basic infrastructure, such as roads that
may be used the year round, electrical power, etc. The lack of propagation of the geological-
Govt. of the State, V Informe de Gobierno…, Op. Cit., pp. 89-93.
mining potential, scarcity of water (essential factor for metallurgical processes), as well as
the scarcity and high cost of inputs for the mining industry and the lack of skilled labor are
further hurdles for this industry.65
In view of the above, the government of the state has set forth a strategy for the
development of the industrial sector that encompasses a design for regional programs to
serve the specific demands of economic development in each region of the state. The plan
will include the creation of adequate spaces for the efficient establishment of industrial
companies, implementing basic services of information and counseling for the business
sector by improving technological infrastructure to develop the industry. Additionally, the
program will work to build and rehabilitate industrial urban infrastructure and
communications and transportations, thus promoting the consolidation of cargo activities.
Also, there will be common centers for procurement of raw materials and inputs, through
purchasing unions and industrial groups. There will be construction and modernization of
industrial infrastructure, plus greater promotion of the state’s potential for investment.
Economic and marketing studies will be given assistance in order to foster the efficient
planning of activities and the design of statistical tools to identify and measure private
investment. Parallel to this, there will be new financial tools for feasible industrial projects,
plus counseling on resource administration and support for transfer of technology and
training oriented towards productivity and quality.66
It must be underscored that agricultural production in Baja California Sur has
decreased both in volume and planted area in the last three decades. This is basically due to
a lack of resources and the inadequate use of water, government policies that favor some
Govt. of the State, Plan Estatal de Desarrollo…, Op. Cit., p. 129
Govt. of the State, Plan Estatal de Desarrollo…, Op. Cit., pp. 125-127.
crops over others, low prices on agricultural products, and an excess of commercial
middlemen. Additionally, one must add the end of federal economic policies that subsidize
agricultural development, as is the case in the valley of Santo Domingo. Also affecting
productivity is the low level of technological being applied toward agriculture production,
mainly being manifest by the use of irrigation and the lack of other elements appropriate to
Another factor resulting in low productivity is the effects of competition on local
production in the same valley. Representatives from the “Union de Ejidos 20 de noviembre”
expressed that they are finding it increasingly difficult to sell the 12,000 liters of milk that
they produce as the result of increased importation from other parts of Mexico and from
abroad. Producers are demanding that milk quotas be decreased, insisting that their
enterprises has the capacity to satisfy demand.68
Another significant factor to be underscored is that the soil is not fit for agricultural
production without adequate technology, because the majority of the state is extremely
arid, has low fertility levels, and has marked slopes. Only five units of the landscape show
moderately apt fitness (9.4%) and only four other units have marginally apt values (9.2% of
the state area).69
The region of Los Dolores in the municipality of La Paz is considered marginalized
because it has experienced severe stagnation of its production activities. The main causes
include: geographic isolation and dispersion, recurrent droughts, inadequate infrastructure
for agriculture, cattle raising and fishing (fishing is done only for subsistence), over-exploited
natural resources, cattle raising and the exploitation of vegetal coal prevailing as subsistence
activities (low levels of economic diversification), and the fact that the telecommunications
Govt. of the State, Programa Estratégico de Ordenamiento…, Op. Cit., p. 22.
Newscast Panorama Informativo. Op. Cit., (09-03-04).
Govt. of the State, Programa Estratégico de Ordenamiento…, Op. Cit., p. 60.
infrastructure in its infancy. This has resulted in high unemployment rates, and has led to a
lack of supply of products, raw materials, inputs and fuels, as well as pronounced
In the region of the southern Gulf of California, economic structure is not diversified
and not consolidated because of inadequate exploitation of water mantles. Only 5% of the
total land dedicated to agriculture (131 ha [323 acres]) possesses pressure systems, but they
are lacking the technology to produce agricultural and fruit crops (insufficient machinery,
agricultural equipment and tools). Neither do they do have the necessary infrastructure for
cattle raising. Also, there is a lack of marketing mechanisms for local products, including
those demanded by the tourism industry (little integration to the chain production,
processing, and marketing of animal products and byproducts).70
Economic problems in ejidos: selling of land, production activities
Ejidos are a significant portion of the state’s economy because of their role in
agricultural and cattle raising. Both activities face similar problems and characteristics
ranging from land tenure to the production and marketing of their products.
Percentage of Ejidos in Each Municipality
Los Cabos Comondú
La Paz 29%
Govt. of the State, Programa de Desarrollo Regional…, Op. Cit., pp. 12 and 17.
NUMBER OF EJIDOS PER MUNICIPALITY: Based on the information provided by
ejido authorities, it was possible to determine that there are very few ejidos that have not
sold land (lots and plots), and sixteen have the intention to sell or continue selling. Of the
ejidos that have sold land, many have done so because of lack of lucrative jobs or due to
their financial need. In some cases the end result has been for other investors to establish
agricultural or aquaculture business. Since there is currently a trend to sell ejido land, the
social sector area is gradually being diminished. Additionally, 40% of people interviewed face
land tenure problems which are not very serious but that keep ejidos constantly in the midst
of legal processes or difficult conciliations. Outstanding problems include hectares of land
not recognized by PROCEDE (Program for the certification of ejido rights and titles of urban
lots), land occupation by people alien to the ejidos, and conflicts because of the existence of
different property titles, among others. Fortunately, land tenure problems are not affecting
On the other hand, the Agrarian Law offers the possibility for ejidos to assign a piece
of land to schools, women, and young people. In this regard, 76% of interviewed ejidos have
a school plot and 32% of these are actually the plot in the designated manner. The remaining
24% have not assigned this land. In the case of plots for women, 72% have these (17% labor
on it) and the rest have not assigned them. Finally, 100% of ejidos have not assigned plots for
Sixty-percent of ejido owners are dedicated to agriculture and cattle raising, although
a very small percentage of them undertake these activities on small scale for family
consumption. Thirty-six percent of ejidos engage in extraction activities (fishing and salt
residues) and only 12% work for the tourism sector (whale watching and recreational
Only 24% of ejido owners undertake their activities in an organized manner
(collective or semi-collective groups, or within an association), and the remaining 76% work
individually during all their processes. Regarding availability of equipment for production,
88% stated that they had no equipment at all, or that what they had was obsolete, and that
this resulted in problems and high costs in production. Similarly, training for production was
a significant factor; 60% stated that they had not had any or had it very occasionally and that
this prevents them from improving their production processes.
On the other hand, a lack of loans and problems with credit access affects the ejido
owners’ ability to improve production and increase productivity. Thus, 80% of the ejidos do
not have due credit, among other things because they are included in the due for payment
list of creditors, they do not know how to obtain credit, have no possibility to repay, and,it
is expensive for them to access credit. Additionally, 50% of the ejidos said that they do not
have enough input to develop their activities (high purchasing costs and untimely delivery).
Fifty percent of ejidos expressed that they do not have enough of the inputs mentioned
above, and 68% do not have the infrastructure to market their products (due to a lack of
transportation, store houses, and cold rooms). Apart from all this, 72% said that they do not
use pesticides or agro-chemicals (almost half use natural organic fertilizers) and the rest said
that they use only those recommended by the authorities (Secretary of agriculture,
Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food, SAGARPA).
Regarding water supply and quality for production activities as well as quality of soil,
72% of the ejidos said that they do not have enough water to cover their needs, 36% said
that they have problems because water is salty, and 48% said that their soils have salinity
problems (although in many cases, this is not very severe and is present only in some areas).
Graphs E-3 and E-4 are summaries of general problems in the ejidos that the team
Percentage of Ejidos With or Without
With Characteristic Without Characteristic
Saline Groundwater Intrusion
Saline Soil Intrusion 36% 64%
Insufficient water supply 72% 28%
No pesticides or agri-
chemicals 72% 28%
Marketing infrastructure 32% 68%
Insufficient inputs 50% 50%
Access to Credit 20% 80%
Training 40% 60%
Have equipment for
Are organized 24% 76%
Tourism services 12% 88%
Fishing and salt extraction 36% 64%
Agriculture and cattle raising 60% 40%
Plot for young people 100%
Women's plot 72% 28%
School plot 76% 24%
Land tenure problems 40% 60%
0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100
According to this graph, the majority of ejidos stated that they face problems with
the production and marketing of their products. The lack of water for production is also a
primary concern. In many cases, the amount authorized by the National Water Commission
(CAN) is not enough, and in others this problem expels ejido owners from their plots
because it hinders the possibility to increase production. Other ejido owners face the
problem of not having boats (pangas) and engines for their fishing activities, and a lack of
fishing permits forces them to work for private companies who buy their products at much
lower prices compared to the normal market. The lack of credit makes it impossible for
them to buy better inputs or machines and equipment needed to produce under better
conditions, to make better use of their resources, increase productivity, and improve their
Marketing has become one of the major problems for ejido owners. Lack of
infrastructure for marketing results in huge losses and forces them to sell at low prices,
usually to middlemen (coyotes). They have no place to store their produce and wait for
better prices or look for other buyers. The lack of adequate transportation and poor road
conditions is a source of loss as well. Ejido owners have no knowledge of other markets, and
their lack of orientation and/or technical assistance and training for marketing also forces
them to sell to middlemen at low prices. As for water management, their main problem is
the lack of infrastructure to collect water as well as the lack of modern technology for
irrigation. Many of the ejido owners are still irrigating with furrow water (pipelines and
canals) that result in fluid losses and affect productivity. Other ejidos face soil and water
salinity problems which diminish production and increases costs, since chemicals to
neutralize salinity are needed.
Lack of jobs and alternatives considerably reduce economic resources of ejido
owners since they are forced to sell their plots and, at best, rent them in contracts that
include water supply. Hundreds of hectares are estimated to be under such conditions,
generating high revenues for private firms and jeopardizing the sustainability of natural
resources in Baja California Sur. As farmers are not organized for production or marketing
they have had to face their problems on an individual basis. They have no negotiating power
to gain access to economic assistance and services. They must also fight against
disadvantageous marketing of their products, having to buy the inputs and equipment at very
high prices (they do not buy wholesale), and receiving unfavorable loan contracts with
private companies. Additionally, very few women are organized.
Some ejidos feel that neither their potential, nor the production possibilities of their
plots have not been properly utilized, and possibilities for correcting these problems could
include ecotourism, fish farming, crafts manufacture. The main reasons that these activities
have not been undertaken include a lack of training, technical assistance, and support to
carry out production projects that could help ejido owners to have more options not only
for income, but to have sustainable preservation and utilization of resources. The lack of
production alternatives have led some farmers to exploit protected natural areas, as have
not been taught the advantage of living in a protected natural area and the potential to make
good use of the situation for the entire community.
Mr. Víctor Manuel Manzano,71 Chairman of the Ejido Commission of El Sargento and
its Annex La Ventana, stated that plots have been sold to foreigners, mainly Americans, out
of financial necessity (to improve housing, buy small boats, engines and fishing implements).
They intend to continue selling, and the price of the land will depend upon the kind of land
and its location. Ejido owners who are selling keep part of the land, at least the common use
land, and are not migrating. Most ejido owners are fishermen (approximately 80 out of 118)
and have no land tenure problems. Fifteen or twenty have undertaken agricultural and cattle
raising activities on a small scale. They have a cooperative with the participation of some
ejido owners and children of ejido owners. They need additional equipment (boats, pangas,
and engines), and they have no credit or training. They are requesting to have more fishing
permits, because several of them share permits. They have one fishery, and sometimes sell
their products abroad. For the local market, they sell directly, and through middlemen for
the national market. Low prices of fishing products affect the economy of the ejido owners.
Interview with Mr. Víctor Manuel Manzano, on October 5 th 2004; this “ejido” is located in the municipality of
La Paz and its main village is El Sargento.
In the ejido Agua Amarga,72 the Chairman of the Ejido Commission, Mr. José González,
said that the ejido is not selling land, and that they have only sold forty hectares (ninety-nine
acres) to a single farmer, though some people have the intention of selling their lots near
the highway, essentially for stores. They do not have plots for schools, or for women or
young people. They do not undertake agricultural or cattle raising activities. All ejido owners
are self-employed fishermen who work under private permit holders, and he did not
describe any land tenure problems. Very few residents belong to a fishing cooperative and
they say that although they do not have enough equipment, they are not lacking in training.
The problems they face are related to a lack of permits since they are not allowed to work
without them, and the cost of the equipment is very high (engines and boats).
The ejido of Todos Santos,73 through Mr. Antonio Avilés, Chairman of the Ejido
Commission, expressed that they have only sold 157 hectares (388 acres) – 117 ha (289
acres) for a tourism development (hotels and golf courses) and 40 ha (99 acres) for houses
sold individually by the ejido owners. These plots have been sold mostly to foreigners. About
500 ha (1,236 acres) are under litigation, as there is a question of ownership. Settlement for
this case is about to be attained and general sentiment is that it will favor the ejido. They
have two school plots that are being used appropriately, and one plot for women that is
being labored by eleven women who are organized in the UAIM (Women Agribusiness
Unit) and grow organic vegetables. Ejido owners undertake agricultural activities, cattle
raising, fishing and fish farming activities, and they are organized in collective groups with
their own rules and regulations and boards of directors. They also have a cooperative
partnership for fish production. They added that they have enough equipment and training
and have open credit from Rural Funding. They are working to buy wholesale inputs at
Interview with Mr. José González. On October 5th 2004; this “ejido” is in the municipality of La Paz and its
main village is Agua Amarga.
Interview with Antonio Avilés, on October 6th 2004; this “ejido” is located in the municipality of La Paz and
its main village is Todos Santos.
lower prices. They use pesticides and agricultural chemicals authorized by SAGARPA.
Currently they sell to middlemen, do not have their own infrastructure to market their
products, and need to know more markets to sell directly. They have no problems with
water supply or salinity.
Mr. Rodrigo Márquez Arellano,74 Chairman of the Ejido Commission in Gral. Melitón
Albáñez, said that they have sold land to agricultural companies and that they have the
intention to continue selling land to firms who can create jobs. Ejido owners sell only part of
their land do not lose their ejido rights. The ejido has no land tenure problems. They do not
have a plot designated for a school, and the plot for women is not operating. They
undertake agriculture and cattle raising activities on an individual basis, but do not have
enough equipment and are still using furrow irrigation. They have not been trained, do not
have enough inputs (this should be improved), and have no credit. They do not have a
marketing infrastructure and sell directly to the basic provisions market in La Paz. The
access road to the ejido is in very poor condition, which is not favorable to marketing their
products. They do not have soil salinity problems.
Mr. Álvaro Zapién Castro,75 Chairman of the Ejido Commission of Presidente Días
Ordaz said that they sell land to people living in the area and that agricultural workers also
buy land. Of the twelve agricultural companies that operate in the ejido two or three
companies have bought ejido rights, the others rent plots that include water supply in their
contract. Estimates show that a total of 3,000 hectares (7,413 acres) have been sold and
that approximately one thousand (2,471 acres) are being rented. They do intend to continue
selling. They have no land tenure problems. They have ejido land in La Laguna Ojo de Liebre
for whale watching, and the cave paintings of San Francisco are located inside their territory.
Interview with Rodrigo Márquez Arellano, on October 6 th 2004; this “ejido” is located in the municipality of
La Paz and its main village is El Pescadero.
Interview with álvaro Zapién Castro, on October 6th 2004; this “ejido” is located in the municipality of
Mulegé and its main village is Vizcaíno.
They believe there is oil in their land, as well as gold, silver, bromite and magnesium ores.
They have one gas station in Vizcaíno and are presently obtaining resources for a tourism
camp for whale watching. They do not have a plot of land designated for women, and
women do not belong to UAIM. The school plot is not in use because there is no water,
since the National Water Commission withdrew it. Almost all of the ejido owners rent their
land. In general, plots are labored for self-consumption. They do grow and market white figs
in approximately 270 ha that produce around 600 tons a year. The cattle they have is for
local consumption. They produce individually (they are not organized). For fig production,
they do not have enough equipment and have no technical assistance or training. They do
not have credits and are on the list of creditors whose debt is due. They have problems
with buying inputs because they have no capital. They have a storehouse but no
transportation and do their marketing through coyotes who sell abroad. They have
problems of soil and water salinity and lack the resources to fund a fig dehydrating plant
(currently this is done under the sun). They do not know of other markets and are not
organized for marketing. Thus, they remain at the mercy of the coyotes.
Mr. Ángel López76 is the legal representative of the ejido San José de Gracia and he stated
that they have not sold any land because it is reserved for common use. There is no division
in lots, but they are about to do so, although they have no intention to sell the plots. They
do not have land tenure problems, have one school plot that is used for the boarding
school, and do not have a plot for women; women are not organized. A small number of
ejido owners undertake fishing activities (lobster and scale) and belong to a cooperative of
Concerning agriculture, some vegetables and fruits are grown. Production is contained
to self-consumption, and only a small part is marketed. In the past the ejido had vineyards
Interview with Mr. Ángel López, on October 6 th 2004; this “ejido” is located in the municipality of Mulegé
and its main village in San José de Gracia.
that were wiped out by a plague. They have had no training or technical assistance. They do
not have enough water for consumption and have no irrigation infrastructure or equipment.
They do not use pesticides or agricultural chemicals. They have no credit, training or
commercial infrastructure or transportation. Produce is sold in the region, but much of the
production is lost because of poor roads (sometimes they have no means of
communication). They have salinity problems in the soils of the valley, but not in the sierra.
They are not familiar with marketing techniques and do not know of the production
vocation of the ejido. They think that they can manufacture crafts with the raw materials
they possess, but do not have the training. With some support, however, they feel that they
could produce tilapia.
Mr. Carlos Arévalo Razo,77 Chairman of the Ejido Commission in Benito Juárez, said they
have sold around 120 ha of plots, mainly to shopkeepers, and they are willing to continue
selling. They have a school plot and a plot for women, neither of which are currently in use.
They grow alfalfa to feed the cattle. They are not organized and thus work individually.
There are twenty-five ejido owners who work for the tourism sector (whale watching). They
have no credit and are included on the list of creditors whose debt is due. One of their
problems is high input costs, apart from the lack of water and soil salinity. They market to
local middlemen and do so individually. They are not familiar with other markets, and do not
have transportation for marketing. They are considering the establishment of a shrimp farm,
but do not have a specific project yet.
Mr. Álvaro Padilla,78 President of the Mulegé 20 de Noviembre Ejido Commission,
said that they have sold plots of land on which houses are intended to be built, and they
intended to continue doing so. If they are having land title problems it is because the land
Interview with Mr. Carlos Arévalo Razo, on October 8 th, 2004; this “ejido” is located in the municipality of
Mulegé and its main village is Benito Juárez.
The interview with Álvaro Padilla was carried out on October 8, 2004; the ejido is located in the Municipality
of Mulegé and its main population center is Mulegé.
registry requirements for individual landholders have not been met, and the lands have not
been demarcated and separated from the original large farm and proprietor. From a formal
standpoint plots were set aside for the school and for the women, but they are not
demarcated nor does anyone know exactly where they are located. They produce organic
produce and alfalfa for the livestock, but lack training and are in need of modernization. The
majority of the ejido owners carry out activities other than farming and raising livestock,
mainly commerce. They are not organized and do not have loans. They lack the financial
funds needed for their production and to carry out a study that could define what their soil
is best suited for. They have a warehouse, and sell their production through middlemen.
Their water supply is insufficient and a few areas have registered soil salinization problems.
Mr. Manuel Aguilar Torres,79 a representative of the Gral. Emiliano Zapata No. 2
Ejido Commission, stated that 90% of the ejido owners and their families live off of the ejido.
Ejido owners still living locally live on their ranches but have not sold any plots of land,
although they could do so if they find themselves in financial straits. Although they have
plots for the school and the women, they do not operate them as very few ejido owners
actually live on the ejido. Some (approximately fifteen) are fishermen (they had a
Fishermen’s Union but it is presently inactive). The few ejido owners that sow the land and
have livestock carry out those activities for family consumption only. The remainder of the
residents work in other trades (masonry, mechanics, welding, etc.) away from the ejido.
They believe that belonging to the Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve (REBIVI) limits their ability to
carry out productive activities. Water supply is essential for them to be able to set
themselves up on the ejido again, but the supply that they have is completely insufficient as
Manuel Aguilar Torres was interviewed on October 9, 2004; the ejido is located in the Municipality of
Mulegé and its main population center is Emiliano Zapata 2.
their lands are best suited to agriculture. They would like to set up a fish farm but lack the
support of the authorities.
Mr. Raúl Saldaña Alonso,80 President of the Gral. Emiliano Zapata No. 3 Ejido
Commission, stated that they have sold plots because of financial constraints but that they
no longer intend to sell. They are having trouble with 7,000 hectares that were not
acknowledged as theirs by the PROCEDE. This land has been identified and is currently
occupied, though it is common knowledge that they are going to be sold. They feel that they
need the support of a lawyer in order to attempt to settle the problem. They do not have
plots for a school or for the women (the women are not organized). Originally there were
seventy-three ejido owners but in the second ruling another nineteen were added (in San
Hipólito), and the latter do not have (nor are they interested in obtaining) plots of land and
devote themselves fully to fishing activities. Vegetables are grown on an individual basis.
They feel that they do not need training, and do not have equipment or loans. They have
enough agricultural inputs, yet have trouble with pests. They use pesticides and fertilizers.
They have sufficient water supply for the volume they grow (although they have to add
chemicals to it to control its salinity), and the absence of loans prevents them from
achieving higher production yields. They have no sales infrastructure and sell directly to a
middleman. They lack marketing assistance, a warehouse, and a means of transportation to
the warehouse and market. They feel it would be preferable to sell directly to domestic and
international markets (with an export permit). They are also lacking machinery and an
Raúl Saldaña Alonso was interviewed on October 9, 2004; the ejido is located in the Municipality of Mulegé
and its main population center is Emiliano Zapata 3.
The ejido San Ignacio,81 through its Commission President, Mr. Rodrigo Martínez
Zapién, stated that it has only sold one hectare in the urban area and does not intend to sell
more. They do not have land title trouble, although there are some people occupying plots
of land who do not want to leave, but that this has not led to any major conflicts. They do
not have a school plot or a plot for young people, and their women’s plot is not operating.
Ejido owners devote themselves to raising livestock, on an individual basis, and only 10% of
ejido owners belong to a local livestock union. Although they have coastal lands they do not
carry out fishing activities, claiming that they do not have equipment, loans, or sufficient
inputs. When the dry season arrives they do not have enough feed for their livestock, which
can become a huge problem. They produce cheese that they sell locally at very low prices.
They do not have milk storage equipment nor do they have the infrastructure needed to sell
it. They sell directly and their sales efforts are not organized. They frequently experience
water shortages and soil salinization problems.
Mr. Marco Antonio Martínez Delgado,82 President of the Ejido Commission for the
ejido San Javier, stated that three or four ejido owners have sold land due to financial
constraints, and that members have not returned to the ejido. They do not intend to sell
more land. They are having trouble with their lands being occupied by people from the
Santo Domingo ejido and feel that property boundaries are not properly defined. They have
a school plot and work that land to supply the shelter for the boarding school with fresh
produce. They do not operate the women’s plot and do not have a plot for young people.
They produce several crops, although their most important crop is olives, which most ejido
owners grow and consume. They have livestock, though it is not a very productive industry
for them. They carry out their productive activities individually. They do not have sufficient
Rodrigo Martínez Zapién was interviewed on October 9, 2004; the ejido is located in the Municipality of
Mulegé and its foremost population center is San Ignacio.
Marco Antonio Martínez Delgado was interviewed on September 27, 2004; the ejido is located in the
Municipality of Loreto and its foremost population center is San Javier.
equipment and their pesticides, sprinklers, and tractors are in very bad shape. They have
been given very little training in growing other crops, and none whatsoever in olive growing,
nor any technical assistance for olive growing. They also need tourism training. They desire
a training program so that their young people and adults can learn to speak English, and thus
be able to be gainfully employed as tourist guides, showing the sights in the community and
increasing knowledge about the history of the mission. They do not have any loans and lack
advice and information on the different programs. They do not have enough agricultural
inputs and have insufficient funds to purchase them. There is sufficient water, although
during certain seasons there has been scarcity when it is wasted on water crops and in the
streams. They need a dam to feed water into the spring and although they have requested
the corresponding permits, they have not received any response. They sell individually at the
local market and do not have contact with buyers, just with middlemen. They do not have a
marketing infrastructure (warehouses and transportation) and the road is not in good shape.
They have no knowledge of other markets or buyers. They do not use pesticides or
fertilizers because they produce organic crops. Their soil does not register much salinity or
Mr. José Alfredo Murillo,83 President of the Ejido Commission for the ejido Loreto,
mentioned that they have sold plots of land: approximately 150 hectares, 10% of which were
sold to Americans. They are in the process of selling 93 hectares of beachfront land for
which their asking price is $4,000,000 USD. They intend to continue selling their land. The
ejido owners do not work the land because they are fishermen. They have land title
problems. FONATUR has over 1,000 hectares (2,471 acres) of land demarcated that it
wants to sell. They do not have a school plot, women’s plot, or young people’s plot. They
José Alfredo Murillo was interviewed on October 10, 2004; the ejido is located in the Municipality of Loreto
and its foremost population center is Loreto.
produce mangoes from their family orchards and extract breakwater stones (a temporary
3,000 m2 [32,291 ft2] contract). They do not carry out agricultural or livestock activities and
are devoted to fishing. Most work as independent fishermen under the aegis of the private
concessionaires (approximately sixty ejido owners), while the remainder work in different
trades or are municipal employees. They do not have any training or access to loans, but
they do have fishing equipment. The major problem they face is the low prices they receive
for their products. They would prefer to sell directly in the market, but they cannot do so
because they do not have fishing permits. They do not have the funds to buy more rafts and
Mr. José Jesús Arvizu Higuera,84 Secretary of the Ejido Commission for the ejido La
Purísima, explained that they have not sold any land because the ejido lands have not been
parceled. Some have sold their ejido rights and this continues to occur due to financial
strains. The ejido is very wealthy and there are groups with many interests, but they are
willing to stop selling rights and to parcel out the land. Most of the people who have bought
the land have been investors in the tourism sector and some ejido owners intend to
continue selling. They do not have land title problems. They have a school plot but do not
work the land. They do not have a women’s plot or young people’s plot and do not have
land title problems. They produce cheese, and raise kid and fish. They do not have loans
because their landholdings are small and it is not easy to gain access to loans. They feel that
their most serious production problems have to do with marketing their products and the
lack of technical advice available to them. Their production is sold within the State. They use
very little in the way of pesticides and fertilizers and mostly use organic fertilizers such as
manure and compost. They do not have any soil salinization problems.
José Jesús Arvizu Higuera was interviewed on September 24 , 2004; the ejido is located in the Municipality of
Comondú and its foremost population center is La Purísima.
Mr. Froylan Reyes Flores,85 President of the Ley Federal de Aguas No. 2 Ejido
Commission, said that they have not sold any plots of land. They have only sold lots in the
urban area, although they might sell if a good buyer comes along. They do not have land title
problems. The school plot is not operated, but twelve run a tortilla shop on a plot set aside
for them. They sow alfalfa to feed their dairy cattle, but their water quota is insufficient for
any further production. They work semi-collectively and all of the milk they produce is sold
to a plant that belongs to the Ejidos 20 de Noviembre Union, of which they are partners.
They have lands that could be used for eco-tourism, but they need advice on how to put
projects together. They need training on how to negotiate and put in applications for
different forms of support. The equipment that they have is in need of modernization, and
their irrigation equipment also needs to be replaced. They need training and advice on how
to cut costs. They do not have any loans and use almost no pesticides or fertilizers. When
milk production is good, the Ejido Union returns their milk to them because of the large
quantities of milk coming in from other states and from the United States; they face fierce
competition and a few marketing flaws at their own plant. They have soil and water
salinization problems, which leads to their milk being slightly acidic.
Mr. Luis García Solorio,86 President of the Ley Federal de Aguas No. 3 Ejido
Commission, stated that no plots have been sold although they do intend to sell. They have
land title problems, and they have landholders who are occupying more surface area than
what they have authorization for by the ejido (two hectares per landholder). They have plots
of land for the school, women, and young people, but none of them are operating. They
produce alfalfa for livestock feed, and the dairy cattle production is stable. When alfalfa
production yields are good, they sell the surplus to other producers. All of the milk is sold
Froylán Reyes Flores was interviewed on October 10, 2004; the ejido is located in the Municipality of
Comondú and its foremost population center is Ley Federal de Aguas 2.
Luis García Solorio was interviewed on October 10, 2004; the ejido is located in the Municipality of
Comondú and its foremost population center is Ley Federal de Aguas 3.
to the Ejido 20 de Noviembre Union, of which they are partners. They work in a semi-
collective manner. They have several areas that could be put to use for eco-tourism
purposes, but they do not have sufficient equipment and training has been sporadic. Some
ejido owners have loans from private enterprises. Their inputs tend to not arrive on time,
and the number one production problem is a lack of water (the quotas authorized are
insufficient). They mentioned that another problem that they face is the high cost of electric
power as well as the over-exploitation of the aquifers, which leads to water salinization.
They also have soil salinization problems. They do not use pesticides or fertilizers. They do
not have access to new sowing technologies and are unable to diversify crops so as to
produce better with less water and a less costly infrastructure on a smaller surface area.
The fact that their equipment is obsolete increases their electric power consumption.
Mr. Federico Franco,87 Secretary of the Ley Federal de Aguas No. 4 Ejido
Commission, feels that they have not sold any lots because theirs is a collective ejido and
they do not have any individual plots, but they are willing to sell since they have several
kilometers of coastline. They do not have land title problems. The school and women’s
plots are not operating. The have the Loma Amarilla shrimp farm. They produce alfalfa for
their dairy cattle and the surface area they devote to crops tends to shrink because they are
sowing increasingly better. They do not have loans, though the machinery they have is old
and worn out. All of the milk they produce is sold to the 20 de Noviembre Ejido Union, of
which they are partners, but sometimes the Union returns their milk to them. They have
their own means of transportation and cooling equipment. They intend to increase their
stocker cattle herd. They do not use pesticides or fertilizers and have no water salinization
Federico Franco was interviewed on October 11, 2004; the ejido is located in the Municipality of Comondú
and its foremost population center is Ley Federal de Aguas 5.
Mr. Vidal Saldaña,88 President of the Ley Federal de Aguas No. 5 Ejido Commission,
stated that 440 hectares have been sold for fish farms. They intend to sell and do not have
land title problems. They do not operate their school or women’s plots. They produce
alfalfa and dairy cattle, have a project for a shrimp farm, and actively operate a whale
watching area. They have enough equipment and work on an individual basis. They do not
have enough training in cattle management (insemination, palpation, intensive modernized
grazing, and grazing on sown alfalfa). They have enough agricultural inputs, some have FIRA
loans (Central Bank of Mexico Agriculture-Related Trusts) and they have technical
assistance. They face the problems of high electric power costs, lack of water (they often
have to buy water from other producers) and water and soil salinization. They sell directly
to the 20 de Noviembre Ejidos Union, of which they are partners. They do not have the
resources to modernize their irrigation systems.
Mr. José Miguel Cano Lagunas,89 President of the Matancitas Ejido Commission, said
that ejido rights have been sold amongst the ejido owners themselves. No ejido lands have
been divested. Lands have sold because of financial constraints, but they presently do not
intend to sell. The have land title problems and are presently in litigation with the CFE
(Federal Electricity Commission) over 16.5 hectares (40.8 acres) of land, concerning which
they want the CFE to either pay for the land or return it to the ejido. Those who have sold
their ejido rights have left the ejido, while others have remained as day farm laborers. The
school plot operates in the town of Ramaditas. The women’s plot is not operated. He stated
that the ejido owners do not earn a livable income. There are land buyers who want to set
up fish farms. They have salt mines on 2,000 hectares (4,942 acres) of land, although they
only workone or two of those hectares, producing 400 tons of salt per annum. They have
Vidal Saldaña was interviewed on October 11, 2004; the ejido is located in the Municipality of Comondú and
its foremost population center is Ley Federal de Aguas 5.
José Miguel Cano Lagunas was interviewed on October 12, 2004; the ejido is located in the Municipality of
Comondú and its foremost populaiton center is Villa Hidalgo.
coastline property but do not carry out fishing activities because they lack the funds needed
to purchase water crafts. They carry out farming activities (growing wheat, maize, and
alfalfa) and raise stocker cattle. They face water supply problems and do not have fodder
(alfalfa) gathering equipment. They do not have the training needed to produce cheese. The
women make mango sweets. They need corrals and handling pens for phytosanitary control.
They obtain loans from the Unión del Valle (organization affiliated with the Unión General
de Obreros y Campesinos de México-UGOCM [General Union of Mexican Workers and
Farmers]), to which they belong, although they are not in the past due loan portfolio of
what is now Financiera Rural. They have water shortages for production and need loans to
purchase better farm inputs (fertilizers and paying for electric power). The road is in terrible
shape. They use pesticides and fertilizers and have soil and water salinization problems that
lead to low production yields. They do not have the infrastructure needed to market their
products, although their wheat and maize are under contract by the mills at the beginning of
the season and their alfalfa is sent to Los Cabos. They need a cattle scale and a means of
transportation to take products to market.
Mr. Rodolfo Alcántar,90 President of the Tepentú Ejido Commission, believed that
approximately 10,500 hectares had been sold. The ejido owners have been taken advantage
of during the selling process as they sold under completely disadvantageous conditions. Of
the total sold, 7,000 or 8,000 hectares (17,297 to 19,768 acres) of coastal area lands were
sold to a single businessperson from Los Cabos who has yet to do anything with them. Most
of the ejido’s coastline lands (on the Gulf side) are already in the hands of private individuals.
Between 70% and 80% of the ejido owners have sold, but they no longer intend to sell and
have no land title problems. The do not have plots for the school, for the women, or for
young people. The ejido produces charcoal and ganado caprino eon a small scale. They do not
Rodolfo Alcántar was interviewed on October 12, 2004; the ejido is located in the Municipality of Comondú
and its foremost populaiton center is Tepentú.
have farmlands. Their permit to produce charcoal has presently been suspended by
SEMARNAT (the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources) because the ejido
population failed to respect the agency’s standards. They attempt to produce milk and
cheese, although they lack the infrastructure, inputs, training and loans needed. Their
products are sold through middlemen; part of their production is for their own
consumption and the local market. They have sufficient water supply and do not have
Mr. Heleobardo Higuera,91 President of the Santo Domingo Ejido Commission,
deemed that ten hectares had been sold because the money was needed to improve housing
and purchase small vessels and engines. Some ejido owners sold all of their ejido rights
(approximately seventy of whom have been replaced), some of them left the ejido, and
others stayed but in worse conditions. About six or seven people have installed themselves
on ejido lands and are now demanding close to 20,000 hectares (49,421 acres). On the ejido
plot they plant vegetables, but the women’s plot is not in operation. They carry out farming
and livestock-raising activities, as well as fishing. While their farming and livestock activities
are carried out individually, they have a co-op for their fish production. They do not have
enough equipment (rafts, engines, tractors, etc.) and have not been given any training. They
do not receive any loans because they have fallen behind on loan payments in the past. Their
irrigation system is outdated. They lack organization, and their sales are undertaken through
middlemen. They use pesticides and fertilizers and they have water salinization problems.
Mr. Ramón Lucero,92 President of the Boca de la Sierra Ejido Commission, said that
they have not sold any plots, though some ejido owners are about to sell three hectares to
the ejido company of San José del Cabo. They do not have land title problems. The school
Heleobardo Higuera was interviewed on October 11, 2004; the ejido is located in teh Municipality of
Comondú and its foremost population center is Santo Domingo.
Ramón Lucero was interviewed on October 15, 2004; the ejido is located in the Municipality of Los Cabos
and its foremost population center is Boca de la Sierra.
plot does operate, but they do not have a women’s plot or a young people’s plot. They
carry out farming activities and some ejido owners (twenty-seven or twenty-eight) produce
organic produce. They do not farm many hectares due to the lack of water. They do not
have machinery or equipment. They have no loans or training and insufficient farm inputs.
They work on an individual basis and are not organized. They only use organic fertilizers,
and those who work with organic produce do not have any input problems, and they sell
their produce directly to the San José del Cabo community. They do not have the
infrastructure to market their produce themselves. They have no soil or water salinization
Mr. Enrique Avilés,93 President of the La Ribera Ejido Commission, reported that
plots of land had been sold to build houses. They intend to sell more when the financial
need arises, and have no land title problems. Their school and women’s plots do not
operate. They devote themselves to farming and livestock activities, fishing (only two ejido
owners are bait fishermen), and production of organic produce. They have stocker cattle
raised for the local market. They work on an individual basis and have enough equipment
and training (the latter two are provided by the same company from San José del Cabo).
They do not have any loans but do have sufficient farming inputs. They do not face
production or marketing problems.
In the Cabo San Lucas ejido,94 the land area of the ejido has declined due to both
expropriation and selling. A total of 387 hectares (956 acres) have been sold, of which 217
(536 acres) of collective lands were sold for a tourist resort and twenty collective hectares
(49 acres) were sold to individuals; 150 individual hectares (371 acres) were also sold to
individuals. The state government is in the process of expropriating some of their land and
Enrique Avilés was interviewed on October 15, 2004; the ejido is located in the Municipality of Cabos and its
foremost population center is La Ribera.
Héctor Essau González Arvizu was interviewed on October 14, 2004; the ejido is located in the Municipality
of Los Cabos and its foremost populaitonc enter is Cabo San Lucas.
although the ejido owners intend to sell, they intend to sell only to the highest bidder. They
have land title problems with one person who feels that he/she has rights to a small part of
In San José del Cabo,95 the ejido surface area has declined due to expropriations.
They have an ejido real estate broker through which they sell ejido lands destined to become
urban areas. They do not have any land title problems. They have a Sociedad de Solidaridad
Social (SSS) (Social Solidarity Enterprise) that provides inputs, training and technical
consulting to ejido owners for the production of organic produce that is all sold to the
United States. They do not use pesticides or fertilizers, and they have sufficient quality water
supply. The SSS not only provides services to its own ejido owners, but also incorporates
other producers from other locations. They have no marketing problems and their
production is sold completely to the US market.
The importance of the services sector rose essentially as a result of having promoted
tourism based in Comprehensively Planned Tourism Centers (CIPs). In Baja California Sur,
together with FONATUR, this led to fostering the tourism corridors of San José del Cabo,
Cabo San Lucas, and Loreto, Nopoló, and Puerto Escondido. After the initial boost, tourism
development in the state has been disorderly and unequal. Los Cabos has become the
primary tourist destination in the State and one of the most important in the country.
Loreto, Nopoló, and Puerto Escondido have had a lesser share of the market, even less than
La Paz. Inadequate planning of tourism growth has placed Los Cabos in a position as the
Ángel Ceseña Burgoin was interviewed on October 14, 2004; the ejido is located in the Municipality of Los
Cabos and its foremost population center is San José del Cabo.
number one tourist destination, while the activity has declined in other regions of the
Growth of tourism activity in the state, such as in Cabo San Lucas, has cast doubt
on the capability of state and municipal governments to respond to the problems inherent in
a population undergoing constant growth:
“[Growth] has transformed the area’s productive structure from personal
consumption to an economy oriented toward the tertiary sector, albeit without
gestating a close inter-sectoral bond as is shown by the occupation rates in the
primary and secondary sectors; this has meant a geographic and sectoral
concentration of investment, and has generated a series of easily-perceived external
economies, such as low quality of life for the resident population, and land hoarding
Two of the country’s five Comprehensively Planned Centers (CIPs) are located in
the state. The CIP in Los Cabos presents the greatest dynamism, although it is relatively
small in a nation-wide context. Despite being on the worldwide map, it has been unable to
become a pole of development for the region and the state. Loreto has been unable to
attract a greater flow of visitors and is insignificant in terms of economic apportionment and
generation of jobs. The Municipalities of Comondú and Mulegé lack tourism infrastructure,
in spite of having tourism potential, and visitor flows are very low. Meanwhile, the
Municipality of La Paz has lost its ranking to that of Los Cabos.98 Efforts to promote tourism
in Los Cabos are aimed at the international market, whereas the remainder of the state has
lagged in such efforts. The result is a lack of knowledge about areas that have huge potential,
thus hindering appropriate implementation of diversified tourism activities, and scarce
attraction of investments toward other regions of the state.99
Antonina Ivanova-Boncheva; Manuel Ángeles-Villa (eds.), Diagnóstico Estratégico de...(Strategic Disgnosis
of...), Op. Cit., pg. 289
Idem., pg. 291
Ibid., pg. 305
State government., Plan Estatal de Desarrollo... (State Development Plan...), Op. Cit., pg. 117.
Despite the wealth of the State’s marine resources, the fisheries sector has not
attained the level of well-being for its workers that should have been achieved. This is due
to the lack of attention being paid to the development and needs of the fishing population,
the fleet (mostly river going craft), infrastructure, industrial processes, marketing, etc.. The
following are the factors bearing notable problems:
- Production: This primarily stems from the activities undertaken in lagoons and along the
coast, where a large social impact is generated and a very complex set of problems has
derived from productive programs that fuel disorderly growth and excessive strain on
traditional fisheries resources.
- Increased fishing population: This is due to the arrival of fishermen from other states,
and especially from the fact that many farm workers have joined the forces of coastal
fishermen as an alternative method of meeting their financial needs. This situation is
common in the Magdalena-Almejas bays.
- Lack of maintenance and conservation of the fishing fleet: This is a problem for
approximately 3,700 units, of which 98% are boats used for coastal fishing. Larger vessels
built over fifteen years ago are logically deteriorating due to their age and financial problems
that make it difficult for them to stay well maintained in good working order, leading to
lower technical and economic efficiency.
- Lack of technology in industrial plant, and thus operating below installed
capacity: Although there are some co-ops and private companies that have installed new
technologies in their plants for handling, working and packaging products that meet
international production and efficiency standards, most fishing co-ops do not have enough
equipment to meet the sanitation requirements imposed in order to market their products
- Unequal distribution of commercial management capacity: Fishing co-ops each
have varying levels of development that depend on the region in which they operate, the
resources they work with, their integration into the phases of the production chain, their
managerial capabilities, their self management, their on-the-job-experience, and the
institutional support to which they have access. Because of their legal standing, it is the
independent fishermen who have the least by way of support and sponsorship guarantees
for their productive activities.
- Hoarding and middlemen in coastal fishing: Fishermens’ dependence on
businesspeople, particularly in the product marketing chain, leads to low prices being paid to
the fishermen and high prices being paid by consumers.
- Lack of research that fosters development of the fishing and fish farming
sector: Many needs in this arena have to be addressed, especially as in regard to studies
that cover traditional fisheries and potential fisheries. Although significant research
infrastructure exists in seven institutions, the financial and human resources devoted to
addressing the problems of the fisheries sector have been scarce.
- Illegal trafficking in fishing resources: The federal agency entrusted with the task of
overseeing enforcement of this legislation has enormous personnel and financial resource
limitations, and must oversee 2,705 km of coastline, as well as the varied fisheries
developing in the state.
- The country’s financial situation: This has led to the fishing sector facing extensive
bank financing difficulties (high interest rates, lack of collateral, and, in many cases, past due
loan portfolio problems).100
The fisheries sector in Baja California Sur faces serious difficulties in obtaining the
financing needed under advantageous conditions for broad-based replication. Coinciding
Idem., pp. 94-96.
with that opinion, one can state that the regional impact of fisheries activities and the
relationships established through its productive chain are more closely related to population
distribution and employment than to the formation of the productive structure. This
situation still prevails and actually marginalizes the sector in the state. This can be observed
when one analyzes the share that the activity represents as part of state GDP generation
and of the gross census aggregate value.101 It is noteworthy to mention that illegal fishing and
poaching are practices that do not only lead to a deterioration of natural resources , but
they fail to respect the seasons established by fisheries authorities.
Baja California Sur shares a productive region with Baja California, Sonora, and
Sinaloa. Yet the fishing fleets of the other states are in better operating conditions and are
made up of a larger number of vessels. In this regard Baja California Sur stands in adverse
conditions vis-à-vis other northwestern states since its largest fleet is smaller, and other
states are able to extract the resources from areas close to its coasts. With regard to
smaller vessels, Sonora and Sinaloa register better equipment rates, and if one takes the
migratory processes of some species and the difference in the fisheries catch openings into
consideration, the effort is transferred and a great deal of competition is generated. This
situation has an inevitable negative impact on the resources and the activity’s lack of
profitability. The number of smaller vessels in areas close to the coastline makes it necessary
to carry out a census-diagnosis of such vessels aimed at optimizing their usage.102
Despite the fact that this state has the longest coastline in the country, its support
infrastructure for unloading products is insufficient. This makes basic extraction operations
difficult and hampers development of fishing activities. Furthermore, one must take into
account that the ports of Baja California Sur are also a means of alternative transportation
State government Programa Estratégico de Ordenamiento...(Strategic ...Use Management Strategy), Op.
Cit., pg. 25.
Antonina Ivanova-Boncheva; Manuel Ángeles-Villa (eds.), Diagnóstico Estratégico de...(Strategic Diagnosis
of...), Op. Cit., pg. 211.
along the peninsula, given the inconveniences of using highway services. Taking into
consideration the state’s potential for tourism, port development is absolutely essential, in
addition to the fact that it would boost commercial and industrial activities.
The production model has been exhausted in the case of the North Pacific region of
Mexico, and this is reflected in decreased abalone biomass. The industrial fisheries factories
are obsolete, registering low productivity rates (66%) and high operating and maintenance
costs due to low technology levels. Consequently, this leads to low fishery revenue rates.
Additionally, the insufficient and high cost of infrastructure, basic services, and utilities
(water, electric power, and roads) as well as high transportation, freight, and fuel costs are a
hindrance to this sector of the economy.103
3. Ability to address the problems
3.1 Governmental response and joint ventures
In 2002 several projects were implemented through the Fund for the Integration of
Productive Chains (FIDECAP). Foremost among those projects are the following: In the City
of La Paz the Casa del Artesano Sudcaliforniano (House of South Californian Artisans) and
the Centro de Vinculación Empresarial (CANACO) (Center for Business Liaisons);
installation and equipment for a slaughter house and ostrich skin tannery in Comondú; and
the building of a Handicrafts Market and the setting up of a Household and Industrial
Services Office in Los Cabos.104
Mr. Ernesto López Cinco, State Secretary of Economic Promotion and Development,
stated that the commerce and tourism sectors have potential throughout the entire state. In
2003, 18 projects were developed and completed at an overall cost of $2 billion Mexican
State governemnt. Programas de Desarrollo Regional...(Regional Development Program...), Op. Cit., pgs.
Government of the State of South Baja California. Nuestro Gobierno, Abril de 2003 (Our government, April
2003), Dirección General de Comunicación Social. Coordinación General de Proyectos Especiales, La Paz,
2003. p. 5.
pesos, generating 12,000 jobs, 3,959 of which are full time jobs. He moreover mentioned
that according to preliminary figures from the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS), the
number of workers registered with the former institute rose by 3%. He said that in 2003,
investment flowed into the State for production projects for shrimp larvae and post-larvae,
Pacific oysters, lion’s paw scallop, scale and mackerel species and, yellowfin tuna (the latter
several in the Bay of La Paz105). He moreover stated that work will be done to reduce the
“gap” in basic products, since, for instance, 70% of livestock products consumed in the State
are imported (less than 2% of the pork and poultry products consumed are produced in the
State, and the same applies to fresh garden produce). This is the reason why support is
being given to dairy region projects and others that add value to local production (this year
over 5,000 head of goat will be produced).106
The Temporary Employment Program has been operating in the Municipality of
Loreto since the year 2000 using funds from Social Development Heading 20 and benefiting
119 producers with support for troughs, drinking fountains, to clean out wells and dams,
and build retention walls. For fiscal year 2002, that support was continued for 143
producers (also including the restoration of vessels), with an approximate investment of
$1.3 billion Mexican pesos ($120.8 million USD). In addition, as of this year the Department
of Communications and Transportation began the same program benefiting the majority of
community inhabitants with day wages, while also improving access routes to communities,
thus enabling residents to bring their products to market and to improve their finances.
Agreements will be sought to carry out this rural road conservation program, which is so
vitally important for community development.107
See the problems section of the Environment chapter to note the delicate and serious nature of the
environmental and socio-economic impacts generated by this type of crop –tuna and horse mackerel.
Noticiero Panorama Informativo, Op. Cit. 08 de marzo de 2004.
H. IV Ayuntamiento de Loreto, Plan Municipal de Desarrollo, 2002-2005, p. 21.
In terms of social development, it is the municipal governments that coordinate
actions undertaken by federal and state governments through instruments such as the
Municipal Development Planning Committee and the Development Council, where social
demands are authenticated and solution mechanisms are established. The priorities are
health, education, housing, sports, culture, recreation, family, social assistance, and public
In rural areas, programs to restore roads and provide photovoltaic systems for basic
lighting will be supported. The municipal treasury will be strengthened with strategies to
increase their revenues and enforce strict control over their disbursements, with more
efficient collection programs. These programs will include launching a media campaign,
sending out invitations in writing asking citizens to get their tax areas into order, and
proposing a cadastral re-valuation in order to change the values on urban and rural
properties. This will also trigger an increase in property tax collections.
In terms of economic development, there is a great deal of interest in increasing
private investment inflows aimed at creating direct permanent jobs and bringing information
to investors concerning the favorable conditions that exist for installing and operating new
companies in the state.108
The municipal government has set the objective of fostering fishery activities, with
the guiding principles of productivity and improving productive processes so as to boost
development in the communities. This is being done in coordination with academic and
research centers in order to seek appropriate development of the sector through
aquaculture and productive projects that will pay off by capitalizing on fish as a natural
resource. “Controls” will also be established in order to improve species protection and to
ensure that fishermen located in the area actually do obtain the required permits,
H. IV Loreto City Hall, Municipal Plan of..., Op. Cit., pgs. 41-43.
authorizations, or concessions. The feasibility of setting up a fisheries products collection
center will be analyzed, and for which a revolving fund would be consolidated so as to
address the needs of the fishing population and thus stimulate growth of the sector.109
The Municipality of Comondú has proposed to work on promoting and disseminating
information about its natural and historical wealth, its gastronomy and its handicrafts. It is
also working to prepare infrastructure projects and alternative tourism activities for service
providers in the two main ports and country areas. These projects are financed by federal
and state agencies, and the funds are managed through the Regional Sub-Committee to Re-
activate the Valley of Santo Domingo. The idea is also to promote the arrival of cruise ships
(San Juanico is on the Escalera Náutica), to provide electric power to the Adolfo López
Mateos and San Carlos Port tourist piers, and to foster the Viva Comondú Limpio (Long Live a
Clean Comondú) program. Quality service awards (tourism promotion associations), EXPO
tourism, canoeing races and kayak marathons will also be organized.110
The Municipality of La Paz has proposed to foster programs that generate the
conditions needed to disseminate, promote and attract local, state, national and
international investments, and to do the same with agricultural and livestock, and
manufacturing activities. The major challenges will be to substantially improve the quality of
current jobs and to promote the creation of the new jobs required for municipal growth. In
order to fully comply with the programs and actions contained in the development plan, the
municipality plans to integrate the COPLADEMUN and to have government and the
productive, tourism, commerce, services and social sectors enter into agreements to carry
out the programs and actions, while also identifying alternative sources of financing.111
Comondú City Hall, Municipal Plan of..., Op. Cit., pgs. 51-55.
La Paz City Hall, Municipal Development Plan of 2002-200, pgs. 35-37.
In the Municipality of Mulegé, different hydraulic, electric, and communications
projects are presently at varying levels of approval and performance progress. This is due to
cost-benefit ratios and the lack of programs and clear outlooks on development of the
municipality’s different regions. The municipality strives to obtain budgetary authorization
from the federal Finance Ministry to develop a project that will take electric power to the
North Pacific and South Gulf regions (in the Bahía Concepción area). The municipality also
plans to request that the Ministry of Communications and Transportation expand its budget
so as to be able to completely finish paving the North Pacific highway circuit. Additionally
the municipality will be negotiating with the National Water Commission to complete the
third stage of the North Pacific Aqueduct that was previously unfinished due to a lack of
In 2003 resources were channeled to the fisheries sector through the Regional
Development Program (PDR), the Fund to Foster and Develop Aquaculture and Fishing in
the North Pacific and Laguna de San Ignacio Region (FONDESA) of the Ministry of the
Economy, and of the Central Bank of Mexico’s FIRA fund.
The stability of fisheries production in the state is believed to be the result of the
creation of the State Fisheries and Aquaculture Council, a consulting and participatory body
in which policies and procedures for fisheries management were restructured. In addition,
the municipalities of Mulegé, Loreto, Comondú, and La Paz have Fisheries Sub-Committees
where responses are given to proposals and ideas raised by the fisheries sector at the local
and regional level.
The Recreational Nautical and Sports Fishing Commission was also created as a
response to issues raised by tourism service providers, and incorporation of the State
Lobster Sub-Committee was formalized. As part of the fisheries’ management, picture ID’s
H. XI Mulegé Town Hall, Plan Municipal deDesarrollo 2002-200 (Municipal Development Plan...), pg. 38.
have been handed out to 80% of the registered fishermen and 160 smaller vessels have been
registered.113 As a means of supporting the fisheries sector the Program to Encourage [the
Use of] Marine Gasoline was begun through which producers are able to save 30% to 40%
of the cost of gasoline when they purchase it. In terms of fishery infrastructure, funds have
been channeled to build an integral mooring in the Sargento-La Ventana area aimed at
benefiting over one hundred fishermen.
The Rural Aquaculture Program continues to be expanded so as to promote and
consolidate family-scale fish farming in several rural communities. Also in 2003, resources
from the Alliance with You Program were earmarked to build the El Camarón Sureño shrimp
farm and to study lion’s paw scallop farming. The State Aquatic Sanitary Committee was
created as well for the purpose of providing certainty to Baja Californian Sur producers. The
Committee is entrusted with the task of monitoring the sanitation conditions of the water
and aquatic products, and thus improving foreign market access.114
As a means of support for the tourism sector, Mexico’s Foreign Trade Bank [EXIM
Bank] (BANCOMEXT) provided financing to seven enterprises in the industry. The National
Fund for Tourism Development (FONATUR) in Los Cabos has also exercised funds for
conservation and the maintenance of marginal protection works for the San José del Cabo
estuary, as well as to clean road sewer systems and to draft executive urbanization projects.
FONATUR in Loreto has channeled funds toward providing equipment for the Puerto
Escondido Marina, as well as for lighting along the Loreto-Nopoló highway, tourist
infrastructure maintenance works, expansion of the waste water treatment plant, planning
works and urban development studies and projects.115
State governemnt., 5th Governemnt Report..., Op. Cit., pg. 91.
State government., 5th Government Report..., Op. Cit., pgs. 89-93.
Idem., pg. 96.
In 2003 the second edition of the Tourist Guide for the State of Baja California Sur
was drafted as a historical-cultural reference work. Internet websites were also developed
in conjunction with companies such as Baja Life, Custom Marketing Group, and Arvizu as a
means of promoting the state. The State Coordinating Office for Tourist Promotion and
several tourism business persons took part in twenty-one international trade fairs in the
United States, Japan and Great Britain, foremost among them was the Dema Show
(recreational scuba diving), Fair and Expositions, Central Oregon Sportsmen Show, Expo
Adventure and Eco-Tourism in Mexico City, and the 2003 Acapulco Tourism Market. The
Fourth Presence of Baja California Sur in Tijuana was also carried out, and the state
participated in the 2003 State Tourism Officials meetings.116
In response to the concerns and demands of the agriculture and livestock sector,
steps have been taken and resources have been mobilized through efforts such as: the State
Council for Sustainable Rural Development, Municipal Councils for Sustainable Rural
Development, the Agricultural and Livestock Sectoral Sub-Committee of the Planning
Committee for State Development (COPLADEBCS), the State and Regional Committees
for Plant Sanitation, and the State and Regional Sub-Committees for Livestock Development
and Protection, the PRODUCE Foundation, the Fund for the Agricultural and Livestock Re-
conversion of the Valley of Santo Domingo, and the Regulation and Follow-up Committees
for Regional Impact Projects.
Resources were exercised in 2003 for substantive projects such as: Alliance for the
Countryside (SAGARPA-CNA), Sustainable Agriculture and Productive Re-conversion,
Acquiring Water Rights, Support for PROGAN (Program to Encourage Livestock
Productivity) Competitiveness, PROCAMPO (Program for Direct Support to Rural
State Governemnt., 5th Governemnt Report..., Op. Cit., pg. 97.
Producers), Marketing Support, Temporary Employment Program and Regional
As a response to seasonal farm producers who were damaged by Hurricanes Ignacio
and Marty, money from the Fund to Address the Rural Population Affected by Climate
Contingencies (FAPRACC) was earmarked to aid 613 producers with landholdings of 706
It was also in 2003 that several other programs were implemented to support
underdeveloped rural populations with limited management capabilities. These services
include: Support Programs for Rural Investment Projects (PAPIR), the Program for Skills
Development in Rural Areas (PRODESCA), and the Program to Strengthen Rural
Enterprises and Organizations.
For the mining sector, the State Mining Council will be created and its National Fund
for Solidarity Enterprises (FONAES), together with the Solidarity Risk Program, will be
providing support to companies devoted to extracting, loading and marketing stone-based
aggregates (stone, gravel and sand) in the state’s five municipalities. Moreover companies
devoted to providing construction materials and equipment will have access to loan funding
through the Ministry of the Economy’s Mining Development Trust (FIFOMI) and its Supplier
For the industry, commerce, and services sectors, the Ministry of the Economy’s
Integration Fund for Productive Chains (FIDECAP) provides financial support for projects
that complement the processes of previously established companies. Funds were also
channeled to training courses for workers in micro and small-scale enterprises, and this was
achieved with backing from the National Committee for Competitiveness and Technological
State Government., 5th Government Report..., Op. Cit., pg. 99.
State Government., 5th Government Report..., Op. Cit., pg. 102.
State governemnt., 5th Governemnt Report..., Op. Cit., pg. 111.
Innovation (COMPITE). Through the Program for Modernization of Retail Trade
(PROMODE), micro-business persons and employees were given training courses, such as
basic entrepreneurial training, administration, marketing, accounting, procurement and
inventories. A Macro-Financial Fund was created within the Development Impetus Real
Estate Fund (FIMID) and together with the Fund to Guarantee Productive Development in
the State of South Baja California (FOGAPROBCS), $2,242,615 Mexican pesos ($208,431
USD) were invested in order to carry out forty-four projects in which 665 jobs were
generated, 175 day wages were maintained and an additional 110 were generated. With the
National Information and Market Integration System (SNIIM) work continues to be
undertaken to support agricultural, livestock, and fisheries producers, wholesale merchants,
and industrialists. The Ministry of Social Development (SEDESOL) and its Productive
Opportunities Program jointly support projects, primarily those located in rural areas.120
3.2 NGO Responses
A number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) located in the state are having
a large economic impact by working on education, health, environment, art and culture, and
community development issues. Below is a listing of some of these NGOs who respond to
the needs of the local communities.
Ciudades Hermanas de Santa Rosalia, A.C. is a group that, inter alia, receives and
distributes donations and presently carries out clean-up campaigns throughout the
Municipality of Mulegé. The organization also pinpoints scarcities in hospitals, and provides
medical equipment and medications. Moreover, the group brings in ophthalmologists to visit
and examine families and hand out prescription eye wear. The NGO has benefited 600
Gob. del Edo., V Informe de Gobierno..., Op. Cit., pp. 26-27, 99, 102, 111-113.
people and has donated fire trucks, materials for firefighters, school buses, ambulances,
medications and surgical materials.
La Sociedad de Historia Natural Niparajá, A.C. is an organization that is
currently developing the Comprehensive Conservation Project for the San Cosme-Punta
Mechudo corridor, which is located between La Paz and Loreto, and encompasses part of
the municipalities of La Paz, Comondú, and Loreto. The group works to identify sustainable
productive alternatives, improve social community organization, market studies of fisheries
and agriculture and livestock products, perform aquaculture feasibility studies for fish and
mollusks, and diagnose the El Bosque-La Soledad micro-watershed. The NGO has also
developed proposals for the environmental land use management program for the coastal
plains of Loreto, the expansion of the National Bay of Loreto Park, the creation and start-up
of operations of the Southern Californian Fund for Natural Protected Areas, reinforcement
of infrastructure and management of the Isla Espíritu Santo island complex, agreed
expropriation of Isla Espíritu Santo, drafting a support guide for environmental education for
elementary level teachers in the state, reactivation of the Coalition of Southern Californian
Conservation and Sustainable Development NGOs, reconstruction and maintenance of rural
schools along the San Cosme - Punta Mechudo corridor, support for corridor families
through rural schools with the aim of strengthening elementary and secondary education
and support for adults through productive training programs, social organization and the
search for sustainable productive projects, community training, productive projects, and
support for elementary and secondary education. A total of 250 people of all ages along the
corridor have benefited from the NGOs efforts.
Colectivo Sierra de La Laguna identifies community needs in San Dionisio (Sierra de
La Laguna) and organized workshops on environmental clean-ups focusing on rural tourism
in San Dionisio. The NGO has carried out community workshops with women in the town.
Its future plans include fostering, through community participation, alternative productive
projects that enable sustainable development in mountain communities, development of
alternative tourism programs (eco-tourism, rural tourism and solidarity tourism), reinforcing
the ranch culture by marketing and valuing typical products, and identifying priority areas for
path conservation and development.
La Asociación de Oaxaqueños Radicados en Baja California Sur, A.C. carries
out, inter-alia, presentations on the Guelaguetza (folk dances from the seven regions of
Oaxaca) in the five municipalities, beginning with Mulegé, Loreto, Comondú, La Paz and Los
Cabos, accompanying the dances with samplings of Oaxacan cooking The NGO prepares
offerings, altars and handicrafts, and artistic events with bilingual songs every year in the
Municipality of La Paz. It also addresses the needs of migrant day farm workers, providing
their families with nutrition and health information. The organization has increased the
number of its partners in the five municipalities and has been the channel for altruistic
organizations to donate basic food staples to 100 needy families. Foremost among its future
programs are putting together a workshop to train its partners in handicraft activities, such
as embroidery, burnishing, making calico apparel and pottery. The organization teaches the
children of its partners the folk dances from the seven regions of Oaxaca, thus making it
possible to put the Guelaguetza together in the Municipality of La Paz; it also plans to create
municipal delegations in the state’s five municipalities and plans to seek ways to increase
school attendance, family education, economy, culture, and health.
La Fundación Comunitaria de La Paz BCS, A.C. proposes to use productive
projects to achieve economic and cultural development in La Paz.
La Asociación de Usuarios de Aguas Residuales en el Ejido El Centenario,
Mpio. de La Paz, B.C.S., A.C., has the objective of efficiently distributing treated water
among its members for the production of higher quality fodder. Along the same lines, it
intends to avoid over-exploitation of the aquifers, have potable water used only for
domestic purposes, and put waste water to good use. The NGO presently operates an
animal sanitation program (tuberculosis and brucellosis) and has modernized irrigation by
sluice gate systems in twelve ranches.
Sistemas Naturales y Desarrollo, A.C. proposes to improve the quality of life of
the inhabitants of rural communities in the State through skill-building activities that involve
a participatory popular environmental education process that serves as a conservation
strategy. The NGO presently operates a training program for community environmental
promoters in La Ventana, El Sargento, Palma Sola and San Evaristo and promotes sustainable
rural tourism in Palma Sola.
Tierra, Mar y Desierto, A.C. proposes to help the most needy communities,
primarily women and children, aiming to increase their standard of living and promote their
development. The NGO has trained women who received financial support from the state
government, and operated the project entitled “Entrepreneurial and Business Women of
B.C.S.” in the state’s five municipalities, thus making it possible to pinpoint the women’s
needs. It has also undertaken participatory diagnoses in communities aimed at identifying
sustainable activities. Close to 500 women and 100 children have benefited from the NGO’s
The organization called Comunidad y Biodiversidad, A.C. proposes to promote
participatory management of marine and coastal resources so as to achieve community
development while conserving biodiversity at the same time by reinforcing community
participation in conservation activities.
With regards to producer organizations in rural areas, worth mention is the
Federación Estatal de Propietarios Rurales, A.C., (State Federation of Rural
Proprietors), which operates programs aimed at addressing problems dealing with land title
and rural development, as well as management of federal government development
programs that are fostered by varying state agencies.
One of the objectives of the Federación Estatal de Propietarios Rurales A.C. is to
organize producers so that together they can solve land title problems, promote rural
development, and manage the development programs fostered by the federal government.
La Unión Nacional de Productores de Ganado, A.C., works in livestock raising
activities so as to achieve rural development, and will shortly be giving a seminar on
livestock raising where it plans to define its work program, inter-alia.
Fundación Produce de Baja California Sur, A.C., provided support to nineteen
research projects for incorporation and technological improvements that lead to greater
productivity and competitiveness. The National Institute for Forest, Agricultural, and
Fisheries Research (INIFAP), CIBNOR, and UABCS carried out the projects. 121
3.3 Response from other sectors
In terms of fisheries research, the Northwest Research Center (CIBNOR), the
Interdisciplinary Center for Marine Sciences (CICIMAR), and the Autonomous University of
South Baja California (UABCS) have continued their research and studies aimed at
generating the scientific and technical elements needed to guide fisheries activities and to
put them into order.122
Although state and federal governments, through their varying ministries, have a
large number of programs, projects, and funds aimed at addressing and solving economic
development problems, Baja California Sur, ironically, faces a great variety and large number
State Governemnt., 5th Governemnt Report..., Op. Cit., pg. 102.
Idem., pg. 91.
of problems of the same nature. Accordingly, there is a need for an investigation into which
obstacles are compromising the effectiveness of those government initiatives. Once these
limitations have been identified, it will be necessary to improve upon them so that the vast
amount of support made available by the government sector for fostering economic
development can be put to effective use.
If the region’s natural resources are to be effectively utilized, then producing cacti
could be beneficial, including growing nopales, jojoba, aloe vera, oregano, damiana, basil, as
well as decorative plants, food plants, medicinal plants and plants used for industrial
purposes, both in gardens and in nurseries. It would also be necessary to open up marketing
options for those species at the domestic and international levels, providing training on how
to process and grow species of high commercial value (making the most of the world
demand for natural foodstuffs and alternative medicine), and draft the Inventory-Catalogue
of Endemic and Non Endemic Flora of South Baja California.123
The following are suggestions for breathing new life into the mission system
(Mission Routes Program): develop cattle, goat, and rabbit raising; develop poultry farming
and beekeeping; foster fruit growing and restore irrigation; establish family orchards,
botanical gardens, and nurseries; create agro-industrial companies and strengthen artisan
production. For effective low-impact tourist development, culture, and traditions must be
developed, tourist routes for each mission system must be created, and signs must be put
up to indicate historical mission sites. The historical-cultural values of the missions must be
publicized throughout the state, country, and on an international level as well, and mission
products must be placed on the market. Finally, a Calendar of Mission Fiestas could also be
State Governemnt., Regional Development Programs..., Op. Cit., pg. 19.
Idem., pg. 21-22.
With regards to programs created to conserve, manage, and make the most of water
resources, the design and building of an infrastructure works system for rainwater
infiltrations, recharges, and collection are current priorities. Hydraulic systems must be
designed on a per region basis, and they must be systems that optimize usage of surface
waters such as oases, natural springs, lagoons, or rainwater currents. It is vital that
agricultural water usage be rationed through the use of modern irrigation systems with
state-of-the-art technology, as well as to select less water-intensive crops so as to optimize
soil and water yields. It is also necessary to install wastewater treatment and usage systems
for agricultural purposes, as well as to establish systems to desalinate seawater for human
consumption. This is of greatest concern in locations where the subsoil has no reserves or
where rainfall is practically non-existent. There is also a need to install desalination plants
for new tourist resorts and developments, regulating the Los Cabos tourism pole so as to
only use the aqueduct for community consumption.125
4.1 Needs of the Municipality of Los Cabos
The South Gulf Region has excellent productive potential that could be used to
breathe new life into the region’s economy. The area has excellent weather conditions and
notable experience in the production of herbs, fresh produce, and organic-type fruit
production, all of which are in high demand in the international market. The region has
agricultural production areas as well (Valle de Santiago, Boca de la Sierra, Santa Cruz, Las
Cuevas and La Ribera). Moreover, it has a vast coastline that could be put to good use for
sportsfishing and alternative tourism. Finally, the region has a cattle herd of a unique genetic
quality, which has helped the region to project itself as the meat production area in the
south. Agricultural production could be reoriented toward production of highly commercial
Ibid., p. 23.
organic crops, livestock raising activities could be integrated as an alternative to the area’s
productive re-conversion, high genetic quality dairy and stocker meat cattle and goat
breeding farms could be fostered, and family dairy cattle stables (backyards) could be
installed to supply the regional market with dairy products.
In addition to the above-mentioned, industry must also be promoted so as to imbue
agricultural products and sub-products with greater value. Development of alternative
tourism and eco-tourism must also be supported in order to make the most of the region’s
potentials. Foremost among the latter are the National Park at Cabo Pulmo, the thermal
waters at Agua Caliente and the Sierra de La Laguna Biosphere Reserve. Development of
artisan activities must also be boosted and fishing and aquaculture need to be reinforced.126
The Ejido Boca de la Sierra needs loans, machinery, and equipment (tractors). They
need training and sufficient farm inputs for their production, as well as support to organize
themselves. They lack infrastructure to market their goods and need a warehouse with a
refrigerated room and transportation, as well as a modernized irrigation system (they use
4.2 Needs of the Municipality of La Paz
The Dolores Region in the Municipality of La Paz has an ecosystem that is well suited
to raising goats. It has limited irrigation areas that could be used to produce enough fodder
for the region and make its goat raising activities sustainable. The region also has the
potential for the commercial exploitation of semi-desert plant species (damiana, oregano,
mesquite, dragon fruit, aloe vera, nopal), as well as an extensive coastline along the Gulf of
California and the Pacific Ocean for development of fisheries, aquaculture, eco-tourism, and
adventure tourism activities (San Evaristo-Los Dolores-Las Ánimas-La Soledad corridor),
such as trekking, sports fishing, kayaking, camping, etc. Furthermore, the region is naturally
suited to and has experience in working high quality handicrafts. In order to make the most
of the foregoing potential, the region’s cattle raising activities should be reconverted to goat
raising (integrating the productive-marketing chain), and the development of beekeeping,
poultry raising, and rabbit-breeding activities should be boosted as sources of low-cost high
quality food. Developing low irrigation consumption agricultural activities should also be
promoted as activities that support cattle raising, and planting family vegetable gardens for
household consumption and regional markets is another element. In regards to fishery
activities, coastal fishing must be subjected to fisheries management, and the resources
available must foster projects for farming Japanese oysters, crab, and Australian lobster,
based on the usage of social participation schemes.
In order to breathe new productive life into the City of La Paz, the city’s potentials
must first be considered. Foremost among them are the existence of infrastructure for
higher education. In addition, the city’s natural beauty (desert landscape, virgin beaches,
marine fauna and nearby islands for sportsfishing and scuba diving, cave paintings, and the
Laguna Sierra) represents significant potential for eco-tourism projects. The city also has
historical sites (the missions, old mines, and towns with age-old traditions) that would make
for appropriate cultural tourism, as well as handicrafts that are produced using regional
inputs. With regards to fishing activities, the city’s scientific and technological infrastructure,
its human capital, and 60 km of coastline are well able to support expanded aquaculture
activity. In terms of agriculture, the region has areas that could be used to develop low
water consumption farming activities. Based on the foregoing, different economic options
need to be developed, such as tourism, promoting the holding of cultural events, linking the
higher and mid- to high-level educational institutions to the needs of the economic sector,
promoting training and the performance of research projects, as well as intensifying
campaigns that promote the city both nationally and internationally, and seeking to tap into
unexplored markets such as Asia. In the fisheries sector, aquaculture activities must be
fostered as an alternative for the sector (crops such as pearls, sea species, seeds, etc.). For
aquaculture, growing native species (for food and industrial purposes) should be introduced
as part of the Endemic Flora Research Program. In addition to supporting commerce, it is
fundamentally necessary that the regulatory and legal framework be adapted, amended,
and/or drafted so as to make it possible to reactivate production in La Paz (Plan of
Ecological By-Laws for the Bay of La Paz and Regulations for Commerce on Public Roads).
Financing programs are also needed so as to make it possible to support the loan needs of
development projects aimed at fostering productive processes, as well as to instrument
alternative mechanisms to tap resources from business and thus supplement the
investments made by government agencies in infrastructure and urban image. In the latter
regard, the urban image of the city’s first block must be transformed, seeking a harmonious
balance among buildings, roads, green areas, and the bay’s surrounding environment. Works
to remodel the coastal seafront-walkway must also continue, while other works need to be
undertaken to restore and preserve buildings deemed to be historical monuments in the
city (Teatro Juárez [Juárez Theater], Palacio Municipal [City Hall], old houses, etc.), thus
making it possible to enhance cultural activities, such as the theater, dances, music, movies,
literature, and so on, at the same time.127
At the meetings held with representatives of the academic and research institutions,
federal, state and municipal government authorities, as well as with NGOs, we were able to
identify the region’s major problems, in addition to the short and mid-term needs. Foremost
in this regard, are the communities’ lack of information concerning their actual reality and
economic potentials, their customs that at times become limitations or obstacles for their
Ibid., pgs. 12-16.
development, and the poor communication between the institutions and the people when
devising development strategies.. The group also felt that the absence of a development
vision based on productive projects was one of the reasons that have led to a lack of
productive opportunities able to generate jobs and permanent revenues, thus becoming the
common denominator of the communities’ economic woes. This lack of economic
alternatives leads to increased poverty, high rates of migration, and the loss of biodiversity
(over-exploitation of fisheries and forest and mining resources in some areas of the state).
Moreover, the scarcity of self-management processes in the communities triggers a lack of
organization in those communities and hence their participation becomes limited and
insignificant. Poverty, marginalization, and scarce job alternatives trigger the migration of the
young population to urban centers, a situation that becomes a limitation to the existence of
sufficient support to carry out alternative productive projects in rural areas.
In view of these problems, development must be promoted and communities must
be organized to support local productive projects that add value to primary production,
boosting the creation of integrating enterprises. Designing and operating technological
financial tools that are accessible to the population will bring educational and training
possibilities that are suited to the areas. In order to accomplish this, a diagnosis must be
made to take into account the interests, aspirations, and real commitment of the
communities. With the support of NGOs, community-based initiatives must cooperate to
improve the impact of their efforts by becoming more professional. Not only is it necessary
for the communities to appropriate their own natural resources, giving their use value and
sustaining their preservation, but those resources must be understood as being tools of
development, and must be invested in the areas or regions registering the greatest poverty
The meetings also determined that the lack of regional diagnoses that are shared
among government agencies hampers economic development of the communities and of the
state itself, leading to state actions that are scattered and that fail to achieve the desired
impact. The foregoing is basically due to a lack of communication and coordination among
the agencies themselves and the lack of municipal planning bodies (the Planning for
Development Committees [COPLADE] no longer operate as instruments for development).
In addition, diagnoses of the state’s needs are not submitted to federal government agencies.
In this regard, it is proposed that the Municipal Development Councils be revived as groups
devoted to planning, and sites where decisions concerning productive projects soliciting for
support can be made. The councils should furthermore coordinate the efforts of federal and
state agencies, as well as municipal development proposals, facilitating the sharing of
knowledge and the discussion of the diagnosis being undertaken. Consequently municipal
planning programs or guiding plans are needed, as are the preparation of diagnoses that
include strategic lines and specific programs.
We feel that it is extremely difficult for the state and municipalities to contribute the
supplementary resources needed for federal agency programs, and that they are
institutionally unable to utilize these resources due to legal-administrative issues that hinder
the allocation and exercise of the resources themselves (great variety of federal regulations).
Civil servants at all three levels of government must be trained, and collaboration
agreements must be entered into by social and federation organizations so as to channel and
apply existing resources appropriately and in a timely manner. The younger population,
many of whom presently leave home, must become more deeply rooted in their rural
communities, and must be afforded support for the creation of small women’s, young
people’s and even senior citizens’ enterprises, promoting community organization and
Based on the interviews carried out among ejido owners, the following particular
needs were identified:
- In El Sargento and its annex La Ventana, more rafts and engines are needed for
fishery activities. As a result, loans are needed, as are training courses and fishing
permits, since several fishermen are working under other concessionaires for lack of
their own permits.
- In the Ejido Agua Amarga, there are independent fishermen working under the aegis
of private concessionaires, and they need equipment (engines and rafts), as well as
fishing permits because they are not allowed to work without them.
- The Ejido Todos Santos needs to purchase wholesale inputs so as to be able to buy
at cheaper prices, albeit they are already working to achieve this. They presently sell
to middlemen, they do not have their own marketing infrastructure, and they need
to gain knowledge of other markets so as to be able to sell directly.
- In the Ejido Gral. Melitón Albáñez, there is a need for modernized irrigation
equipment (they still use furrow irrigation systems), as well as training, and a feeling
that their inputs are in need of improvement and that their roads also need
improvement, enabling them to sell under better conditions.
4.3 Needs in the Municipality of Mulegé
The North Pacific region is considered the area with the highest production of high
commercial value fisheries resources. The region also has other resources that can be put
to good use for regional development, production, and its economy. It has a lengthy
coastline (270 km) and pollutant-free ecosystems that are well suited to strengthening and
diversifying the region’s fisheries and aquaculture activities. The region also offers natural
resources for eco-tourism development (Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve), as well as resources
for handicraft development. It is important to note that this region contributes 40% of the
value of the state’s fisheries production and that eight fishing co-ops are in operation and
provide jobs to 70% of the economically active population, in addition to contributing 10%
of the revenues currently reported in the state’s trade balance.
If the foregoing potentials are to be fully realized, the region must be promoted as a
regional development pole that includes modernization, concentration and restructuring of
industrial factories and infrastructure. A top-flight port should to be built, one that combines
cargo, provisioning, maintenance, and auxiliary services for all types of shipments, making
the most of the opportunity presented by the Escalera Naútica project. An international
customs agency should also be established thus making it possible to utilize sea lanes as the
main means of transportation, and to attract commercial and tax operations from all of the
co-ops in the region. Commercial, tourism, entrepreneurial, and banking services must also
be set up for the region, and basic services and utilities (water, electric power, sanitation)
must be introduced at costs that are both balanced and regionally supportable.
With regard to the diversification of economic activity, the region needs to
strengthen its small- and mid-scale fishing fleet, which would make it possible to diversify
fishing, develop diversified aquaculture activities, foster eco-tourism in the area of the El
Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve, establish sustainable ranches in the rural areas, and integrate
enterprises for production and marketing products. A fundamental basis for the afore-
mentioned is the development of new economic and productive organization schemes and
the carrying out of research studies and projects to determine catch limits and the
sustainable usage of all of the region’s resources.
More specifically, land use management of fisheries and aquaculture activities are
needed, as well as research into optimum usage of fisheries resources, operating an abalone
seed laboratory in Punta Eugenia, creating a guarantee fund to reinforce fisheries and
aquaculture activities, and the building and maintaining of highways, potable water supplies,
and electric power.
Taking the natural potential of the Laguna de San Ignacio region into consideration,
the following are needed in order to diversify the economy and attain sustainable
development: diversification of fisheries and aquaculture, making the most of under-
exploited species, fostering tourism and eco-tourism development, reinforcing agricultural,
livestock and mining development, fostering agro-industrial, handicrafts and micro-enterprise
development, diversified industrialization of fisheries products, promoting the establishment
of sustainable ranches, and the fostering of salt production for foreign markets. In more
specific terms, land use management must be applied to economic activities. Research must
be done so as to achieve the optimum usage of fisheries resources. There is also a need to
carry out the mining exploration studies needed and to build and maintain the highways,
potable water and electric power resources.128
At the meeting of representatives from government, academic and research
institutions, and NGOs in Guerrero Negro, those present reached the consensus that
Exportadora de Sal must diversify its salt production processes in order to offer the market
more products. In view of aggressive competition in the international marketplace, feasibility
studies must be carried out in order to share the experiences of other countries.
In order to avoid having a water scarcity problem in the near future, the belief is that
access to financing is necessary so as to modernize water usage by implementing
institutional coordination to support producers with resource mixes, thus making it possible
to cover the corresponding contributions to ejido owners as well.
Although certain conditions must be applied to fresh produce production,
withdrawal of government support and the lack of organization among ejido owners, the
Ibid., pgs. 4-7.
latters’ lack of knowledge regarding other organizational and productive experiences, as well
as the new links between the academic and productive sectors have all led to a reduction of
fresh produce production, thus leaving production in the hands of foreign capital. The
sharing of organizational experience among ejido owners was proposed, as well as to
connect the academic sector to producers by providing advice on horticultural projects.
Governments also need to invest in this type of project, channeling tax resources to the
region’s sectors bearing the greatest potential.
The group pinpointed the need for a reduction in fishing due to the fact that a
priority has been placed on aquaculture activities and due to high production costs. Doing
so would lead to a decline in the supply of local species and an increase in product prices.
Consequently, it was proposed that fisheries activities be diversified and that the fleet be
modernized, purchasing larger vessels to help cut production costs.
In addition to the above-mentioned, illegal fishing continues to be a problem that is
essentially attributed to a lack of institutional coordination in setting catch seasons, as well
as to scarce enforcement resources and to institutional corruption (Baja California and Baja
California Sur have two different dates on which the lion’s paw scallop season opens in the
region),. We feel it would be necessary to establish a navy detail in the region, channeling
greater funds to monitoring and enforcement activities and providing those entrusted to do
so with modern vessels.
The lack of manufacturing industries in the region that would generate jobs could be
overcome by establishing productive projects aimed at making use of lion’s paw scallop
shells, and by setting up a solid waste recycling plant.
Furthermore, the group agreed that tourist attractions in the region are not being
utilized to their fullest extent simply due to the failure to promote alternative tourism, to
the lack of hospitality infrastructure, and to the lack of productive initiatives that comply
with the regulations in force for the El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve (REBIVI). In order to
overcome the situation, productive projects to determine specific needs must be prepared
and submitted to and discussed with the Reserve. Then the local population should be
trained in English, French, and Japanese and professionalized on issues related to wildlife so
that they can work as alternative tourism guides. In addition, alternative tourism needs to be
boosted and the local population needs to be made more aware of issues of coexistence
and conservation of natural resources.
In the Santa Rosalía region, production organization needs to be fostered so as to
overcome the problem generated by a lack of information regarding government support,
the withdrawal of government support, and the lack of leadership that generates social
participation. Specific diagnoses are also needed, as are the provision of technical assistance,
the search for other forms of organization, and decentralization of resources to the
We propose that citizen participation bodies be reactivated so as to do away with
resource centralization and to democratize public expenditure, unlinking public interests
from political interests, fostering job generating policies and creating local-level development
Creating sources of employment is an ongoing problem. The problems faced by ejido
owners (even at the national level), the migration of local talent, and lack of knowledge
about natural protected areas are all factors that contribute to the problem. As alternatives,
it has been proposed to foster well-paid jobs, learn to live with and make use of the
resources available in natural protected areas, seek greater possibilities to move forward in
marine activities, and to link students to their communities. In order to accomplish the
foregoing, several steps will be necessary, including: training and education that enable
people to become more competitive on the job, attracting new technologies to the region,
increasing investments in activities that require less usage of water, follow-up on and
provide continuity to projects previously implemented, seek out new markets for the
region’s products, and disseminate information on the regulations of natural protected
The following specific needs were identified based on the information obtained from
the interviews undertaken in several ejidos in the municipality:
- In the Ejido Presidente Díaz Ordaz, funds are needed for a whale watching tourist
camp. Since the school plot is not operational, due to the scarcity of water
resources, the national Water Commission needs to restore the water flows that
were suspended. The ejido needs organization for production and technical
assistance and training on the usage of insecticides and fertilizers. The ejido also
needs financing for a fig dehydration plant (their figs are currently being sun dried).
They feel they need to gain further knowledge concerning other markets so as to do
away with middlemen, and advice in order to organize themselves to market their
- In the Ejido San José de Gracia, there is a need for technical assistance to sell their
products and to carry out a study to determine what type of production the ejido is
best suited for. They request training to produce handicrafts (they feel they have the
raw materials needed) and require support to produce tilapia and to improve their
- The Ejido Benito Juárez needs support to access loans, to ensure markets and for
transportation to take their products to market. They want to set up a shrimp farm
but need the initial project.
- The Mulegé Ejido 20 de Noviembre mentioned that it is having land title trouble
because the land holdings have not been formally registered in the names of the
owners, the lands have not been demarcated from the original large farm, neither
have they been registered in the name of the original proprietor. The ejido feels that
the political will is needed from all parties involved (municipality, owners, and ejido
owners) to negotiate. They need financial funds for production and to carry out a
study to define what the soil is best suited to produce.
- The ejido owners at the Ejido Gral. Emiliano Zapata No. 2 need water supply in order
to again be productive on the ejido. The water supply is not at all sufficient, though
their soil is best suited for agricultural activities. They intend to install an aquaculture
farm but have mentioned that they need the political will of the authorities to
support them in this endeavor.
- The Ejido Gral Emiliano Zapata No. 3 stated that it is having trouble over 7,000
hectares that were not acknowledged as theirs in the PROCEDE. The ejido owners
have identified the hectares in question, which are occupied and are being sold. They
feel they need the support of a legal counsel so as to solve the problem. They need
loans to be able to improve production, technical assistance for marketing their
products, as well as a warehouse and a means of product transportation. They also
feel that they should be selling directly on the domestic and international markets
(they would need an export permit) and need machinery and irrigation equipment.
- The Ejido San Ignacio members feel that the ejido needs support to organize its
product sales efforts.
4.4 Needs of the Municipality of Loreto
The needs of the municipality of Loreto include the development of a goat raising
industry, diversification of tourism development by changing their primary model, and
seeking other tourism development options. They also need to breathe new life into the
area’s historical and cultural facets, modernize the region’s tourism and productive
infrastructure, and strengthen training for service providers.129
As a result of the meeting held with the institutions and NGOs, it was decided that
due to the communication and inter-relationship problems among communities, it becomes
very difficult to solve problems that are common to all of the communities. Consequently,
the group recommendation is to foster community-based leadership thus enabling the
communities themselves to define the best economic alternatives for the creation of
The lack of training to generate economic activity (tourism, aquaculture, and sports
fishing) continues to be one of the major obstacles blocking the creation of SMEs, which
represents a limitation to community development. The lack of knowledge about the
potentials inherent in fisheries, tourism, and agriculture and livestock activities mean that
studies need to be carried out to assess the acceptable natural resource load, thus making it
possible to establish alternative productive projects. Consequently, the academic and
research sectors need to be linked to the needs of the community to create a productive
atmosphere, and to allocate natural resources for sustainable development projects.
With regards to fisheries activities in the region, marina resources are being over-
exploited both by illegal fishing and by those carrying out sports fishing activities with a
permit. In many cases commercial fishing activities are being carried out under the aegis of
sports fishing permits, leading to huge pressure on the fisheries’ resources. Consequently, is
crucial to raise awareness among tourism service providers, and to increase inspections and
The preeminence of primary resource development (fishing, agriculture and livestock
raising), coupled with excessive reliance on middlemen, has led to the need to develop
Ibid., pgs. 8-9.
SMEs, with the appropriate training and sundry services, that will be able to add value to
The difficulties faced by the communities, due to their inability to access financial
support, limits development of their economic activities. Technical consulting is needed as is
training (this could be through NGOs) so that the communities can be deemed eligible for
In order for more localities to become part of the National park, first the areas’
ability to access financing must be improved so as to support them through productive
projects and to create more Environmental Management Units. It is important to note that
NGOs can be a means of support by helping to develop these projects and fostering
alternative and sustainable economic activities. Research should be linked to community
development, and allocation of financial funds from different agencies needs to be increased
in order to carry out studies and projects and to create economic alternatives that enable
the population to become more deeply rooted in their communities.
Loreto has almost all of the elements required to create industries, yet capital
continues to be a missing factor for achieving definitive installation of said industries. Loreto
should be marketed as an attractive location for investors who want to expand their
operations, particularly among the maquiladora sector since there is a permanent need for
jobs during low fishing and tourist seasons.130
When the Ejido Commissions were interviewed, the Ejido San Javier stated that it is
experiencing a problem with the invasion of its lands by people from the Ejido Santo
Domingo. San Javier feels that properly demarcating land boundaries is very important if the
problem is to be solved. In the ejido’s opinion, a training program is also needed so that the
ejido’s young people and adults can learn to speak English and as well as about the history of
4th Loreto City Hall. Municipal Plan of..., Op. Cit., pg. 35-36.
the mission, thus become tourist guides for visitors to their community. They need a dam to
feed into the spring (they have put in the paperwork but have not received a response yet)
as well as consulting services regarding other markets.
The Ejido Loreto stated that it is having land title trouble. FONATUR has over 1,000
hectares and wants to sell them. The ejido has sued the fund and wants it to pay for the land
or return it to the ejido. Since the ejido owners are fishermen they need loans to purchase
rafts and engines.
4.5 Needs of the Municipality of Comondú
There is a need to strengthen livestock raising activities through sustainable ranches
(for goats, cattle, and sheep or pigs) and re-conversion of agricultural ranches into livestock
ranches (intensive exploitation of stocker cattle). Reorienting agricultural activities is
indispensable in order to reduce water consumption and to make their activities profitable
(as they would only need to produce feed for livestock). Costs also have to be cut so as to
make their dairy cattle and stocker cattle operations more profitable by: partially replacing
alfalfa with green sorghum fodder in silos; fostering backyard projects (family economies)
including smaller livestock such as rabbits, pigs and poultry; fostering the creation of micro
enterprises for the derivatives of livestock products, fisheries and aquaculture products, and
for making handicrafts using regional materials; managing the usage of the land and water in
the oasis systems so as to recover those areas and make them highly productive; and by
fostering aquaculture activities involving shrimp and oysters, and rehabilitate their wells and
irrigation infrastructure in line with the situations, needs, and possibilities of the producers
in their production systems. With regards to tourism, a historical, cultural, and ecological
model needs to be developed by creating a corridor that makes the most of the region’s
semi-desert biodiversity and characteristics.131
Part of the requirements to foster economic development in the municipality
includes bringing higher education institutions and organizations closer to the rural areas so
that they can apply and manage the technologies for agricultural and livestock activities, and
knowledge regarding reforestation of mountainous regions using trees and bushes that are
indigenous to the region.132
The following are the particular needs identified in the ejidos interviewed by the
research team in the Municipality of Comondú:
- The Ejido La Purísima stated that its production is sold in the state, and it
consequently needs to prepare a project to set up an integrating enterprise.
- The Ejido Ley Federal de Aguas No. 2 has areas that could be used for eco-tourism,
but they lack consulting in order to draft the projects. They need training so as to be
able to negotiate and manage support. The equipment in the ejido is deteriorated and
thus needs to be modernized (the irrigation equipment needs to be renewed). They
need training and consulting on how to cut costs.
- The Ejido Ley Federal de Aguas No. 3 mentioned that they need access to new
planting technology. They also need to diversify their crops so as to produce better
with less water, less costly infrastructure, and on smaller amounts of land. They
need to modernize their equipment so as to consume less electric power and for the
Union plant to expand its markets so it does not have to return the ejido’s milk.
- The Ejido Ley Federal de Aguas No. 4 feels that the Union needs to improve its
State governemnt, Regional Development Program..., Op. Cit., pgs. 10-11.
Comondú City Hall, Municipal Plan for...,Op. Cit., pgs. 42-43.
- The Ejido Ley Federal de Aguas No. 5 stated that they need training on livestock
management (insemination, palpation, modernized intensive grazing and grazing on
their alfalfa crops) and they need to modernize their irrigation systems, as well as
financial support to be able to accomplish it.
- The Ejido Matancitas said that they have land title problems over 16.5 hectares with
the C.F.E. (Federal Electricity Commission) and are asking that the CFE either pay
for the land or return it to them. They have salt mines on 2,000 hectares although
they are only operating one or two hectares of the salt mines that produce
approximately 400 tins of salt per annum, but they need machinery and equipment
for that operation. They have not had enough training and would like further training
on how to produce cheese. They need to have their road fixed and they need a scale
for their livestock as well as a means of transportation to take their products to be
- The Ejido Tepentú needs training and technical assistance to genetically improve their
- The Ejido Santo Domingo feels that it needs farm loans for its agricultural and
fisheries activities. The ejido also believes that the government needs to give them
rafts and engines. They believe it would be important to modernize their irrigation,
obtain agricultural and fisheries training (permissible sizes for different species, use of
fertilizers), and organize their producers. To sell their products they need to build a
warehouse to store their grains and shrimp and to seek other buyers.