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News Around the Republic of Mexico 

Mexican Chile Peppers are More Than Just a Spicy Crop

July 27, 2020

There are 29 kinds of chile peppers grown in Mexico. In recent years, production has increased from 1.94 to 3.18 million tons a year, and the country's per capita consumption has risen to 18 kilos annually.
Much more than just a spicy vegetable, chile peppers are a mosaic of flavors, colors, and textures that give great value to this crop. Mexico is one of the world's three largest producers, with 29 varieties and 101 títulos de obtentor (intellectual property rights for new varieties), as well as two species with protected designation of origin.

The Government of Mexico recently held the 'Chile, Our Wealth' forum to recognize the importance of chiles in the country's cultural and gastronomic identity.

The event highlighted that the country's annual consumption amounted to 18 kilos per capita, and celebrated the work of the more than 50,000 national producers that have increased production in the last 10 years by 64.2% - from 1.94 million to 3.18 million tons per year - without increasing the cultivation area.

Virgilio Morales Lara, a representative of the non-governmental National Chile Product System, said that this product, which has broad market potential internationally, accounts for more than 20% of the national production of vegetables.

He also stressed that the increase in production has been the result of the high level of modernization that this crop has reached in recent years, going from being an open field product to a greenhouse product, which has allowed the sector to increase its production volume and profitability.

Mexico produces various varieties, ranging from jalapeño, serrano and habanero to poblano and bell peppers, which position the country as the second largest producer of chiles, with exports to 42 countries, the main destinations being the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Domesticated six thousand years ago, the growing of chile peppers is a long-held tradition in Mexico. Today, the crop covers 150 thousand hectares and generates about 15 million in wages every year.