Transparency & accountability

Procampo agriculture program faces allegations of improper use of funds and political cronyism

The Procampo federal agricultural program is coming under scrutiny following an investigation by the Mexico City-based Center for Research and Teaching of Economics and newspapers reports that detail how the program has been financially benefitting government officials and drug traffickers.

Procampo was originally created to alleviate the financial impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement on agricultural workers. The program was created in 1994 and it has distributed 171,000,000,000 pesos (about $13 billion dollars) to agricultural producers through 2008.

The Centro de Investigacion y Docencia Economicas (CIDE) investigation by Mauricio Merino raises the question of how many producers have been receiving money without using the funds to actually cultivate agriculture, and how much of the money has been diverted to politicians and government bureaucrats.

The CIDE found that 80 percent of the money went to large agricultural producers even though there is no evidence they have been able to use that money to strengthen their businesses. The investigation finds no positive impact in grain cultivations, and notes that a part of the problem is a lack of mechanisms to measure how well the money is being used.

The report finds that certain people’s names show up repeatedly in a list of beneficiaries of the funds. The academic investigation notes that Jorge Kondo Lopez, who is now the Secretary of Agriculture in Sinaloa appears 89 times in a list of beneficiaries of the Procampo program, according to public records available on Merino also identified 371 other people, many of whom who are known public officials.  PRI federal congressman Jesus Manuel Patron Montalvo is listed 131 times in the registry for a total of 12,270,763 pesos (about $942,000). Patron is a well-known businessman in Sinaloa, and El Universal called the multiple appearances of his name on the list “extraordinary,”

El Universal also quoted a PRD congresswoman, Nora Ruvalcalba Gamez, who said that she conducted a review in 2007 of the Procampo beneficiaries and found that a significant number were drug traffickers or families related to drug traffickers. These include people related to suspected traffickers such as Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, Ernesto Palma, and Alfredo Beltran.

Despite her findings, Ruvalcalba said that she is aware of any follow-up investigations by authorities. Jorge Kondo Lopez told the newspaper that being related to members of organized crime is not a crime.

The Procampo program is also facing criticism from groups such as the Consejo Nacional Agropecuario and the National Farmworker Confederation (Confederación Nacional Campesina) for failing to meet the needs of smaller-scale agricultural producers. According to the Cardenista Farmworker Central (Central Campesina Cardenista), the smaller-scale producers represent 90 percent of the industry and the money failed to meet their needs to raise their competitiveness under the free trade agreement, El Universal reported. The money instead came to be seen among this group as a means to cover basic necessities.

From the Justice in Mexico Project’s August Monthly News Report:


Alvarez, Ignacio & Hernandez, Evangelina. “Depredan Procampo politicos y narcos.” El Universal. July 27, 2009.

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