Sustainability considerations for geographically restricted livelihoods
The designation of origin for tequila, an alcoholic beverage distilled from fermented sugars of Agave tequilana, has transformed a marginal rural livelihood of western Mexico to a globally traded industry. Given its success, other rural industries are following its example. However, socio-ecological factors, such as the normative framework, environmental variability and climate change, can limit the sustainability for these growing industries. Literature revision, niche modeling, and a multi-criteria analysis for sustainability are used for assessing geographical designations of Mexico and for identifying potential candidates for protection under this regime.
A mere fourteen designations of origin have been declared in Mexico –in comparison with the hundreds existing for wine or cheese in Europe–, of which only two are not directly resulting from agriculture or forestry. Tequila and, to a lesser extent, mezcal are the most robust industries. Landraces of maize, wild pepper (Capsicum sp.), some endemic fruits, and wine are suitable candidates for protection under designation of origin.