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Morelos State, powerfully innovative

Article - July 23, 2013
Home to some of Mexico's most important research centres, Morelos also plays host to a sizeable agricultural sector and manufacturing industry
CULTURAL AND BEAUTIFUL MORELOS STATE IS LESS THAN A COUPLE OF HOURS DRIVE FROM THE CENTRE OF THE CAPITAL, MEXICO CITY

Graco Ramírez, Governor of the State of Morelos, discusses his state’s role as a key participant in driving national growth, thanks to its myriad infrastructure projects and its diversified economic activities, ranging from agro-industry and manufacturing to technology and research.

Morelos is undergoing a lot of construction. What projects are under way and what’s in the pipeline for the near future?

There was a project for the construction of a railroad that was cancelled in 2005. We’ve reopened it and are already in talks with Ferromex (now privatised). From here we can export to five locations in the US and reach the Pacific through the port of Manzanilla. This project should create about 6,000 jobs.

Another one we’re about to begin is the widening of the motorway through the town of Tepoztlan, which will give us greater mobility within the state. We’re also going to build a highway from Toluca to Tres Marias, in Morelos State. Yet another project, in the bidding stage, is a new highway from Atlixco in Puebla State to Tequesquitengo, Morelos, which will continue directly to Zihuatanejo and Acapulco on the Pacific side.


We calculate investment in infrastructure will reach about 30 billion pesos (£1.5 billion), thereby putting Morelos on a path of very strong competitiveness.

Morelos is the second-smallest state in Mexico, yet it’s quite the agricultural powerhouse. What are your main products?

We’re the number one producer of plants and flowers and the second largest producer of cacti. Also, we’re producing a natural dye called Grana Cochinilla (cochineal) for the cosmetics and textiles industries. It has a huge value in the market.
In addition, we’re the second biggest grower of avocadoes, after Michoacan, and we will begin to export to Europe. We’ve got the highest proportion of sugarcane and we’re working in conjunction with two sugar factories to head a regional strategy to grow the agro-industry and produce organic fertilizer and ethanol.

We were the first state to create a Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology.

Graco Ramirez,
Governor
of Morelos State

What else makes Morelos attractive to foreign investors?

For one thing, manufacturing is big here. Continental Tech, the most important Canadian company worldwide for the production of auto parts, is coming to Morelos, and two other companies of global renown are considering bringing operations to our state. This would translate into a competitiveness of 20 years and the generation of thousands of jobs.

Another thing to highlight is that one-third of Mexico’s chemical-pharmaceutical industry is located in Morelos. The reason for this is because over 40 years ago, numerous research institutes were founded here, including research for water, health and energy. I must mention that we were the first state to create a Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology.

Morelos is also home to the UNAM’s (National Autonomous University of Mexico) renewable energy research branch. Recently, three Spanish renewable energy companies visited because they’re interested in installing their plants here in the state. 
We’ve also got a technology park, 90 per cent full already, with some of the most important companies in the field of technology and innovation. Right now we’re building the second phase of the park, and it’s set to be the country capital for scientific developments and technological innovation.

In order to feed these industries and sectors, of course, we need well-educated graduates. For this reason, the state has made one of the most significant investments in education. Since August 2012, more than 110,000 students – from preschool through university level – have received scholarships.

Just a stone’s throw from the capital, Morelos makes for a pleasant weekend trip for people who live in Mexico City. What would British investors and visitors enjoy seeing?

We’re an excellent cultural destination, with a wealth of 15th and 16th century convents and temples, as well as haciendas, spas, water parks and lakes such as Laguna Tequesquitengo. We also happen to have the best climate in the centre of the country.

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