March 18, 2019
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Mexican tequila being made to resist climate change

 Farm workers harvest agave plants, the raw material of tequila, whose distillers now use the latest science to protect the plants from climate change by preserving microorganisms in the soil, caring for pollinating fauna, and assuring the reproduction and health of agave seedlings. EFE-EPA/Juan Carlos Machorro/File

Farm workers harvest agave plants, the raw material of tequila, whose distillers now use the latest science to protect the plants from climate change by preserving microorganisms in the soil, caring for pollinating fauna, and assuring the reproduction and health of agave seedlings. EFE-EPA/Juan Carlos Machorro/File

Mexico City, Mar 12 (efe-epa).- Fine tequila, the symbol of Mexico so popular at parties and friendly get-togethers, is not exempt from the effects of climate change, which is leading scientists to apply their technology to protect the Aztec nation's signature alcoholic beverage.

Miguel Angel Dominguez, chairman of the Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT), told EFE Tuesday that distillers both large and small are using the latest science to preserve microorganisms in the soil, care for pollinating fauna, and assure the reproduction and health of agave seedlings.

The CRT has established seven laboratories, including some mobile units, to carry out trials of the quality and safety of microorganisms in the soil.

Worth mentioning is the fact that the tequila industry's investment in environmental matters over the past 10 years amounted to some $75 million.

"By far the most attention is paid to protecting biodiversity and biological plague control," Dominguez said, adding that it appears climate change is increasing the number of pests and blights.

Global warming has also impacted the sector with its sharp temperature shifts.

However, he said the work goes on every day to improve agave genetics to make the plant more resistant to extreme temperatures.

Distillers are also being trained to make use of the latest scientific and technological breakthroughs.

The CRT has agreements with the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the University of Guadalajara, the European Union and the Mario Molina Center for Strategic Studies on Energy and the Environment.

The Molina Center and the CRT are working together on a Sustainability Strategy for the Agave-Tequila Production Chain.

The project estimates that the industry's carbon footprint in Mexico will drop 10 percent by 2020 and 25 percent by 2030 from the level of emissions registered in 2014.

Also forecast is that the energy consumption of this industry will be down 7 percent next year and 12 percent lower by 2030.

Mexico is estimated to have more than 45 million agave plants, which, besides the labor of farm workers, requires a significant participation of pollinators like bats.

Roberto Delgado, director general of Mundo Cuervo, the tourism division of the tequila brand Jose Cuervo, told EFE that the industry is undertaking various projects to make it forever viable in all environmental, social and economic aspects.

He also noted that the Jose Cuervo Foundation promotes sustainable business ventures with its international contest for the design of sustainable social housing.

Agave fibers, wood from tequila-making farms and glass from tequila bottles, among other materials, are used to build homes based on recycling and respect for the environment. And all with the aroma of tequila.

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