Sonoran Government Supports Sustainable Bacanora Distinction To Protect Bats, Agave

Published: Thursday, December 10, 2020 - 4:20pm
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A volunteer plants agave in Parque La Colorada in Álamos, Sonora, on Oct. 4, 2019, as part of an ambitious effort to plant 1 million agave in the U.S. and Mexico in the next 10 years.

Government leaders in neighboring Sonora, Mexico have agreed to support a sustainable label for producers of a local agave spirit who meet certain conservation standards.

The Sonoran agave distillate Bacanora is gaining recognition alongside other Mexican agave spirits like tequila and mezcal. But there’s a shortage of agave plants needed to produce it, in part because of illegal harvesting to make Bacanora.

Now, a network of nonprofits called Cenko, or the Center for Collaboration of Science and Culture, has teamed up with state leaders and the Sonoran Bacanora Regulatory Council to help solve that problem by offering a sustainable production designation for Bacanora producers who meet requirements to protect agave plants, and the bats that feed on and pollinate them.

“Producers that successfully complete this program will be recipients of a distinction, an image on their bottles, that adds value to their brands on national and international markets," said Cenko representative Jesús Villegas.

It also protects the raw material needed for the Bacanora industry to grow, added Sonora Economy Secretary Jorge Vidal Ahumada, pointing to the Bacanora industry as a major employer and economic engine in some of the 35 Sonoran municipalities where it's produced.

With the new certification, Cenko and the state government will support research into the best ways to propagate agave, foster the establishment of commercial agave fields, and create public policies that support the Bacanora industry's sustainable growth, Vidal said.

Plus, he said, these measures will allow the Sonora to be promoted as “bat friendly" state.

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