Production of artisanal salt in Chila de la Sal, Xicotlán and Zapotitlán Salinas: What kind of governance, has been built?
In the communities of Zapotitlán Salinas (in the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Biosphere Reserve), Chila de la Sal and Xicotlan, which are part of the Mixteca region, in the state of Puebla, there are biophysical characteristics that have allowed the production of artisan salt.
The production of artisanal salt in our study area is closely linked to the conservation and management of water, the preservation of the soil, the conservation of native fauna and flora, and the protection of cultural elements linked to the salt pans, such as ancient tombs and places ceremonial. Likewise, some of the communities have carried out ethnobotanical practices, advised by universities, to preserve and promote the biodiversity that surrounds the salt flats and generate tourist activities.
In the context of unfavorable commercialization of artisanal salt and the challenges of responsibly using the resources of the reserve area, salt producers face multiple problems: the lack of generational relief, religious and political differences, and the control of the production of salt by hoarders. Faced with these problems, the communities have organized themselves into cooperatives to continue with the production of artisanal salt and expand their markets, through the creation of collective brands, while they seek strategies for the use of the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Biosphere Reserve.
This research pay attention to the organization of traditional (communal property, the salt workers' assembly) and modern (cooperatives) institutions, and their relationship with the authority of the reserve area. In this sense, the investigation is based on the following questions: What are the agreements and rules of collective appropriation that the producers have established to produce salt and the use of natural resources? What are the institutions that regulate the use of salt and natural resources in the Tehuacán - Cuicatlán biosphere reserve and how are they coordinated? Do the organizations of salt producers and traders in the study communities promote inclusive or exclusive governance?