Options for greenhouse development in Mexico

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The export of fresh vegetables to the USA and Canada stimulates the development of protected horticulture in Mexico. While this opens opportunities for entrepreneurs, concerns with regards to sustainability in terms of water, energy and economy need attention. Water is scarce at some places, fossil energy is expensive, and profits and costs that are associated with greenhouse types and production levels determine the economic sustainability. The environmental and economic sustainability of greenhouses with different technological levels in the states of Aguascalientes, Querétaro and Sinaloa in Mexico was investigated. Aguascalientes and Querétaro are located in central Mexico at high altitudes, and Sinaloa is located along the north-western coast. Their climates differ substantially. Seven scenarios were assessed, ranging from a naturally ventilated greenhouse with a soil-grown crop to a greenhouse with much technology. The 'adaptive greenhouse approach' was used, combining the KASPRO greenhouse simulation model, the INTKAM simulation model for crop growth and development, and a financial model. Increasing technology results in increased production. With increased technology, water consumption increases (except at the highest level of technology), but energy consumption decreases (except in a greenhouse with a screen and a glass-covered greenhouse). Net income is highest for a glass-covered greenhouse for Aguascalientes and Querétaro, and for a plastic film greenhouse with heating, CO2, misting and screens for Sinaloa. If the most simple and most advanced greenhouses for Aguascalientes and Querétaro are excluded (as they are of very different technological levels), then pay-back periods for the remaining scenarios do not differ much. The pay-back period for Sinaloa is shortest for a plastic greenhouse with heating and CO2. Developmental opportunities exist in the (further) introduction of recirculation systems (water saving), heating (production, net income), screens and glass greenhouse cover (energy saving, production, net income), geothermal energy and solar panels (renewable energy).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-170
JournalActa Horticulturae
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventV International Symposium on Applications of Modelling as an Innovative Technology in the Horticultural Supply Chain - Wageningen, Netherlands
Duration: 11 Oct 201514 Oct 2015


  • Adaptive greenhouse design
  • Protected horticulture
  • Resource use efficiency
  • Vegetable production

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