Protected horticulture technology in state of Nayarit, Mexico

L. Rodríguez-Ramírez1; C. R. Juárez-Rosete2*; J. A. Aguilar-Castillo3

1. Universidad de Almería-Intagri. México., Intagri, México , 2. Universidad Autónoma de Nayarit, Posgrado en Ciencias Biológico Agropecuarias., Universidad Autónoma de Nayarit, Universidad Autónoma de Nayarit, Posgrado en Ciencias Biológico Agropecuarias, Mexico , 3. Universidad Autónoma de Nayarit, Unidad Académica de Agricultura, Carretera Tepic-Compostela Km. 9. C. P. 63780, Xalisco; Nayarit, México., Universidad Autónoma de Nayarit, Universidad Autónoma de Nayarit, Unidad Académica de Agricultura,

, Mexico

Correspondence: *. Corresponding Author: Juárez-Rosete C. R. Universidad Autónoma de Nayarit, Posgrado en Ciencias Biológico Agropecuarias, Unidad Académica de Agricultura. Carretera Tepic-Compostela Km.9., C.P. 63780, Xalisco; Nayarit, México. Phone: +52(311) 223 1340. E-mail: E-mail:


The objective of the present work was to characterize the existing protected horticulture by classifying it, according to its level of technification in the state of Nayarit, Mexico. The study consisted of the on-field application of a questionnaire during the months of September to November 2016. Its form of organization, geographic location and climatic environment, characteristics of the production system, type of irrigation, fertilization management, structural elements, design, cover, climate control, technical assistance, commercialization and supplies acquisition are described. A total of 389 production units were visited totaling 169.85 ha of protected structures dedicated to vegetable production. The non-probabilistic “snowball” method was used which allowed to locate key informants that led to the location of a larger number of production units. Information processing focused on defining categorical and frequency variables. Results indicated that the total area of greenhouses was 135.96 ha (80.05 %), mesh structures and shade house 20.93 ha (12.32 %), macro tunnels 11.20 ha (6.59 %) and anti-aphid houses 1.76 ha (1.04 %). Moreover, four levels of technification were defined: rustic, low, medium and high. The high technology presents a trend to increase its surface, while the medium technology holdings remain stable. A reduction of production units of rustic technology, as well as of low technology, is expected; the latter had a high dropout rate, due to their inadequate technology, incorrect scaling and lack of competitiveness.

Received: 2017 October 3; Accepted: 2018 January 29

revbio. 2020 May 31; 5: e374
doi: 10.15741/revbio.05.e374

Keywords: Keywords: Protected structures, level of technification, competitiveness.


The growing world demand for horticultural food, in enough quantity and quality and in the face of climatic factors that condition agriculture (SAGARPA, 2016), forces producers to adopt viable alternatives to cover these needs by controlling external factors. The “protected” production of vegetables is an option to face the new challenges of agriculture nowadays.

Protected horticulture is an agricultural system in which production techniques are used that allow to control environment and to protect crops (Moreno et al., 2011) in order to promote their growth and development, increase their yields, and obtain harvests in dates at which they can´t be achieved with conventional farming systems (open field) (Juárez et al., 2012).

To achieve this, different protection structures are used, such as greenhouses, macro tunnels, micro tunnels, shade meshes, shade houses, anti-aphid houses and floating row covers; according to the available capital, the local climatic conditions, and the requirements and limitations of the species to be cultivated within them. Their success and functionality are based on the degree of technology that is used, which includes variables such as design, equipment and appropriate management.

Regarding the level of technification, greenhouses can be classified into three levels, according to their typology, equipment and used technology: low, medium and high (Moreno et al., 2011). In function of their lifetime period and tolerance to displacements of the roof structure, into two classes: A) Structures of unitary or battery greenhouses and B) Structures of shade house type, macro and micro tunnels (Ortega et al., 2014).

The state of Nayarit has favorable conditions for this type of agriculture, its edaphoclimatic diversity allows to adapt and use the different structural options. Therefore, the twenty municipalities of the state were visited in order to document the current situation in which these production units are.

Objective of the project

To characterize the existing protected horticulture by classifying it according to its level of technification in the state of Nayarit, Mexico.

Objective of the report

The obtained information brings data that contribute to strengthen actions focusing on improving the production and having a higher growth of the protected horticulture sector in the state of Nayarit.

Study area

The state of Nayarit is located in western Mexico, between 20° 36’ and 23° 05’ north latitude, and 103° 43’ and 105° 46’ west longitude (INEGI, 2016).

Materials and Methods

In order to obtain the information of the present work, a questionnaire was applied, which was elaborated and adapted from the one proposed by Valera et al. (2014). The fieldwork was carried out during the months of September to November 2016. The questionnaire consisted of 41 closed and open questions, divided into seven sections: 1) General data and geographical location, 2) Production system, 3) Irrigation and fertilization, 4) Structure and cover, 5) Climate control, 6) Technical assistance and 7) Marketing and acquisition of supplies.

For the application of the interviews, the non-probabilistic snowball sampling was used (Ortega et al., 2014), which allowed us to locate key informants who informed us about the location of a larger number of production units. In this way, the size and representativeness of the sample increased. Information processing focused on defining categorical and frequency variables.

Regarding the collection and management of the information, 405 production units were visited and 389 units in operation at the different technological levels were surveyed. The remaining 16 units were found to be abandoned and/or in complete deterioration. Also, those that were with species outside the object of study were discriminated: production of flowers, grains, nurseries of ornamentals, forestry and fruit trees. For the definition of the level of technification of the protected horticulture, what was pointed out by Juárez et al. (2012) was considered. They mention that the necessary considerations to classify the greenhouses with low, medium and high technology depend on the dependence or independence on the external environment, the use of simple or automated technologies, production in soil or substrates and for their productivity.


A studied area of 169.85 ha of protected horticulture was obtained, larger than the one reported by SAGARPA (2015) and Alejo et al. (2011), who indicate 121 and 164.63 ha respectively. Both sources cite the total state area, without specifying the exclusive area of production of vegetables under protected conditions. Since the studied total area exceeded the one that was found in the available sources, it was not necessary to consider the representativeness of the sample size and its statistical viability. On the other hand, according to the projects list of the integral production “SAGARPA Protected Agriculture” component during 2016 for the state of Nayarit, all projects submitted for evaluation were ruled as negative, therefore there was no significant growth in the protected area (SAGARPA, 2016).

Table 1 shows the main variables that defined the classification and characterization of the structures found in four levels of technification: rustic, low, medium and high. In contrast to consulted sources, another technological level denominated as “Rustic” was typified, which is present in marginal zones of the state, within the Strategic Project for Food Safety (PESA, by its acronym in Spanish). Although the sources label macro tunnels and shade meshes as low technology, in this study they were classified as medium technology depending on their equipment and management, as well as their adaptation to local climatic conditions.

Table 1.

Variables that allowed to define the technological levels.

Cultivation in Soil Soil Soil with plastic ground Growing media
Main species Saladette T.
Saladette T. ind.a
Habanero pepper
Bell pepper
Ball T. ind.b
Bell pepper
Saladette T ind.
Grape T. ind.c
Saladette T. ind.
Ball T. ind.
Seedling production They produce it They produce it In ball T. maquila and grafted is contracted 100 % of maquila and grafted service is contracted
Structure design Anti-aphid house Shade house
Greenhouses: 98 % multitunnel and 2 % tunnel without zenith
Shade mesh
Macro tunnel
Greenhouses multitunnel fixed zenith: 94 chapel type and 6 % gothic type
Greenhouses multitunnel gothic type: 78 % fixed zenith 22 % movable zenith.
Irrigation method and programing 73 % drip tape At discretion 100 % drip tape At discretion 100 % drip tape Tensiometer Dropper and pickaxe Lysimeter
Infrastructure for fertigation No Direct aspiration of irrigation pump 54 % automated head venturi injectors with direct aspiration
43.5 % Direct aspiration
2.5 % Venturi injection
Automatic watering head
Pollination No 33 % Mechanic
33 % Air
34 % No
56 % Bumble bee,
27 % Mechanic,
15 % Air,
2 % No
100 % Bumblee bee
Climatic control No Natural ventilation
98 % Side
2 % Side-zenith
22 % whitewashed
Natural ventilation
Side -zenith
100 % whitewashed
Natural ventilation
Side and zenithal
100 % whitewashed
Yield/ha Saladette T. Without registration 200 ton 240-260 ton 300 ton
Main source of technical assistance PESA Technical Suppliers of inputs External consultant and Growers Growers
Acquisition of inputs Retail suppliers Retail wholesalers Direct distributors Direct distributors
Destination of production Self-consumption and local market Local market and central supply Exportation and central supply Only exportation

TFN1aSaladette Tomato indeterminate; bBall Tomato indeterminate and cGrape Tomato indeterminate.

Among the found structures, greenhouses stand out (when examining surface), followed by shade meshes, macro tunnels, anti-aphid houses and shade houses. Table 2 shows the geographical location and climatic conditions (INEGI, 2016), which prevail in the different structures, found during fieldwork and which are object of study.

Table 2.

Location and climatic conditions by type of structured studied.

Type of structure Wheather Altitude
Annual precipitation
Average annual temperature
Anti-aphid house Aw, (A)Cw, Cw y BS 500 to 2080 700 to 1200 16 to 24 59 locations from 8 municipalities with high and very high marginalization
Shade house Aw 6 1200 27 Tecuala
Greenhouses (for seedlings) Aw (A)Cw 6 to 1200 1000 to 1200 20 to 27 Most horticultural municipalities
Greenhouses low technology Aw (A)Cw 8 to 1125 1000 to 1200 20 to 27 Jala, Ixtlán del Río, Santa Ma. Del Oro, Tecuala, Tepic and Xalisco
Greenhouses medium technology Aw (A)Cw 740 to 1140 1000 to 1200 20 to 24 Jala, Santa Ma. Del Oro, Tepic and Xalisco
Greenhouses high technology (A)Cw 890 to 1200 1000 to 1200 20 to 22 Compostela and Santa Ma. Del Oro
Macro tunnel (A)Cw 900 1000 22 Compostela
Shade mesh Aw 6 1200 26 San Blas

TFN2Typology: Aw (warm subhumid); (A) Cw (Semiwarm subhumid); Cw (Subhumid tempering) and BS (Semidry).

Regarding the size of production units, surface averages in each level are clearly differentiated (Table 3).

Table 3.

Average size of protected production units (ha) according to their technological level.

Technology Level
Rustic Low Medium High
average surface 0.005 0.5 9.3 41.5

Analyzing the current state of the production units (Table 4), low technology is observed to present the highest number of production units in abandonment, which includes structural deterioration, as well as deterioration of the elements of the cover (plastics and meshes). This factor is essential for the economic development of the protected horticulture sector in the region.

Table 4.

Current status (%) of the production units according to their level of technology.

Technology level Status
Abandonment Stagnation Active
Rustic 0.55 % 18.66 % 80.79 %
Low 44.44 % 5.88 % 49.68 %
Medium - - 100 %
High - - 100 %

1. Rustic technology

At this level, there are the “anti-aphid houses” (Figure 1A), whose only function is to limit the access of pests to the crop. They are rustic structures built by the owners themselves with materials from their region such as wood, reed, bamboo and recycled metals that give support and form to the anti-aphid mesh that covers the whole unit. Their orientation and dimensions are adapted to the owners’ backyards, predominating (45.40 %) those of 10 m length by 5 m width (50 m2), and (35.09 %) those of 11 m length by 3.5 m width (38.5 m2). 7.8 % are located in Cw climates and have a plastic film on the “roof”.

[Figure ID: f1] Figure 1.

A. Design and basic structure of anti-aphid house and B. Diversity of species in anti-aphid house. (Photography: SAGADERP, Nayarit).

73.25 % have a drip irrigation system, less than 1 % with plastic mulch, and the main source of water for irrigation is the collection of rainwater (33.42 %) in ferro-cement tanks of 10,000 L capacity, followed by the natural springs of the locality (27.57 %) and the use of wells (25.62 %). The rest corresponds to embankments, dams and rivers. In the first cycles, up to 23 species of vegetables were grown, with seed provided by the PESA. Currently, the owners acquire the seed and prefer to cultivate the species that are best adapted to their locality, the ones they can commercialize and consume within their diet.

8.63 % of producers have opted for monoculture and units with three vegetables, which are the most common (25.9 %); units with six or more vegetables, only represent 15.32 %. Among the five most cultivated species (Figure 1B) tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) is the first, which was found in 77.16 % of the units, followed by radish (Raphanus sativus L.) 50.97 %, onion (Allium cepa L.) 45.68 %, cabbage (Brasica oleracea L.) 38.16 % and cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) with 26.18 %. The production was not quantified due to low yields, which are mainly dedicated to self-consumption, and if there are surpluses, they are sold in local markets.

The control of weeds is manual, producers seek to reduce insecticide application and dependence on synthetic fertilizers. The elaboration and incorporation of organic fertilizers is encouraged such as compost, vermicompost and fresh manure from the owners’ farms. The few required supplies are acquired with “retail” suppliers. Some of these production units started in June 2013; the most recent in March 2015. Farmers are supported by technical advisors, during a period of 3 consecutive years, who are hired by Rural Development Agencies, attached to the PESA. This technology is a practice of initiation to protected horticulture. However, once the technical support and life-span of the anti-aphid mesh ceases, units under this system are likely to be reduced.

2. Low technology

Under this low technology scheme, 36 production units were visited, of which only 20 units were surveyed, since the remaining 16 were abandoned. Only 30.44 % operate through a company or organization for production, but they lack a mission, vision or certification. The rest (69.56 %) do it as a “natural” person. Their infrastructure includes structures that are pre-fabricated and installed by external companies (65.22 %) and the rest (34.78 %) have been built by the farmers themselves. They have a sanitary area, a warehouse or packing area, reservoirs or cisterns, water wells and access by dirt roads. Of the structures with low technology, 91.29 % correspond to greenhouses and the rest (8.71 %) to “shade houses”.

5.20 % of the greenhouses are dedicated to seedling preparation and 94.8 % to the production of vegetables. Of the latter, 95.87 % correspond to chapel multi tunnel greenhouses of 7 m width, straight lateral and frontal walls, ridge at 4 m and gutter at 2.20 m (Figure 2A). Of the other 4.13 %, the half is constituted by unitary structures of the tunnel type and a quarter is constituted by the same structure with a fixed zenithal opening, straight walls of 10 m width and a ridge between 5 to 6 m.

[Figure ID: f2] Figure 2.

A. Multitunnel greenhouses in Santa María del Oro, Nayarit. B. Self-construction of green house tunnel type with fixed zenith in Jala, Nayarit, Mexico. (Photography: L. Rodríguez R.).

A quarter of the greenhouses are “Gothic” multi tunnel greenhouses with fixed zenith, diagonally arranged walls, with 3.20 m wide modules, gutter at 4 m height, zenith at 7 m height, and a fixed opening of 1.20 m. The after mentioned greenhouses have anti-aphid mesh on their lateral and frontal walls, and zenith if applicable. The structures for seedling production are constructed with new or recycled metallic materials, “designed” and manufactured by the owners themselves (Figure 2B). There are many shapes, wide ones and ones of a very low height. All of them are equipped with anti-aphid mesh. They are located in all the municipalities where vegetables are grown on open fields, in protected structures of low and medium technology.

The structures called shade house are covered in their upper part with shade mesh, and an anti-aphid mesh is sewed on it on all four sides of the structure; they can be supported by fixed arches, joined through a “fork” to tubular steel poles of 1.6 m height (every 4 m between rows), with 8 m width (module) and 3.2 m to the ridge (height). They can also be supported by a set of tubular poles of 4.5 m height (ridge height), at 5 m in both directions; all of them are supported and fastened with steel cables.

The “pickle” cucumber occupies 100 % of the surveyed surface in shade house (15,000 plants ha-1). In greenhouses for seedling production, a wide variety of species is sown, mainly “Saladette” tomato, as well as chilies (Capsicum annuum L.) and watermelon (Citrullus lanatus Thumb). Regarding greenhouses, the indeterminate “Saladette” tomato is the first produced with 57.88 % of the planted area, planted at densities of 24,000 to 25,000 plants ha-1, without grafting, to a single stem, followed by the “Habanero” pepper (Capsicum chinense Jacq.) with 24.25 %, planted in a single row, at a density of 24,000 plants ha-1, the sweet green pepper or “bell pepper” with 11.15 %, planted in a double row and 47,500 plants ha-1, and the “pickle” cucumber (6.72 %), planted in one row and at a density of 15,000 plants ha-1. Yields obtained in greenhouses under this technology are 200 t ha-1 of “Saladette” tomato, 50 t ha-1 of sweet pepper and 30 to 40 t ha-1 of “Habanero” pepper. In the shade houses 100 t ha-1 of cucumber are obtained.

In soil preparation, only 6.25 % of the production units disinfect the soil (with metam sodium); they apply chemical and biological products on the soil during the crop cycle. Before planting, 12.5 % of producers rely on soil fertility analyses, others perform foliar analyses (12.5 %) during the crop cycle; but the majority (75 %) does not use these tools. With respect to the monitoring of pests, only 33.33 % do it by using yellow plastic films. Regarding pollination, in greenhouses, 33.33 % of producers do not perform this practice, the other third does it mechanically (“hit”) and the rest (also 33.33 %) uses air blowers. Beehives (Apis mellifera) are introduced inside the shade houses to produce cucumber.

The crop is grown in soil without plastic mulch; except for a small unit that produces in hydroponics with a flow to waste solution in Tezontle substrate. The majority irrigates with water from wells: private wells (50 %), community wells (35.71 %), and the rest (14.29 %) uses the potable water network. The producer does not know the quality of irrigation water; except for seedling production units that irrigate with fixed booms and hoses with spray guns. 100 % of producers irrigate through drip tapes, determining from their experience the amount of water to be supplied. To fertigate, they connect a tank (where the fertilizers are dissolved) to the suction pipe of the pump with which they irrigate.

Greenhouses and culture lines are oriented North-South in order to obtain a higher exploitation of the solar radiation. 98 % of the greenhouses in production only have natural frontal and lateral ventilation, a zenith ventilation is added to the other 2 %. Only 21.43 % apply a “whitewashing” on top of the greenhouse.

With respect to the personnel, they employ workers for some tasks of culture and packaging. In addition, the available family labor force is used. They are advised by technicians and input suppliers (39.13 %) or with family members (21.74 %), another 17.40 % pay for external consultants, some rely on educational institutions (13.04 %) and the rest (8.69 %) on government institutions. 65.22 % of the supplies are purchased with “retail” suppliers and the rest (34.78 %) with wholesalers. The production is sold in local markets (50 %), regional supply centers (25 %) or in both places (25 %). Obtaining seedling is destined to “open field” and to protected structures of the entity.

3. Medium technology

In this scheme of protected horticulture eight surveys were applied. Of these, seven belong to Production Societies with national capital and one to the education sector. They lack objectives, mission, vision and a structured organizational chart. Only one accounts with a certification of good agricultural practices. Its infrastructure includes prefabricated and equipped structures by companies of the branch, office, a sanitary area, guard house, warehouse and / or processing plant, reservoir or cistern, water well and access by dirt roads or roads. With a total of 74.39 ha, 58.02 % correspond to greenhouses, another 26.92 % to shade meshes and the rest (15.06 %) to macro tunnels. Of the greenhouses (Figure 3A), 94.30 % correspond to “Chapel” type multitunnel greenhouses with elevated fixed double zenith. The Chapel greenhouses have a width of 9 m, straight lateral and frontal walls, a height to gutter of 4 m, zeniths at 6 m and 1.3 m of opening. Like walls, zeniths do not have curtains and are protected with anti-aphid mesh.

[Figure ID: f3] Figure 3.

A. Multitunnel greenhouse type chapel in Jala, Nayarit. B. Multitunnel greenhouse type gothic in Tepic; Nayarit, Mexico. (Photography: L. Rodríguez R.).

5.7 % of the surface is made of “Gothic” multi-tunnel greenhouses with fixed zenith (Figure 3B). With 7.5, 8.5 or 9.6 m Chapel width, walls of 4 m, lateral and front walls diagonally arranged, height to gutter at 4 and 4.8 m and zenith at 6 to 7 m, opening from 0.8 to 1.3 m, protected with anti-aphid mesh, just like the walls. They have roller blinds in zeniths and lateral walls, with manual (80 %) or semi-automated (20 %) opening and closing.

The “shade mesh” are entirely covered by anti-aphid mesh, supported by tubular galvanized steel columns of 5 m (height of ridge), arranged in rows every 10 m and 6 m inside of them. The 3 m high perimeter columns are placed every 2.5 m, with alternating inclined feet (every 5 m), with steel cables as support. Under this structure, it has a retractable shadow mesh (40 % reduction) at 3 m height.

Regarding the macro tunnels, their structural components are made of steel, plastic cover on the upper part (arch), rope and fastening accessories. The width of the macro tunnel is of 7 m, zenith at 4.6 m and tubular post with “fork” at 1.4 m (where the arch is inserted). They have anti-aphid mesh on the frontal and lateral part of the “fork” on the floor. The “heads” are secured with a central tubular post and diagonals on the first two lateral posts.

With respect to the cultivated species, the green bell pepper occupied 100 % of the surface in macro tunnels (28,000 plants ha-1) and shade mesh (33,000 plants ha-1). In greenhouses the production of tomatoes predominates (97.63 %), of which the indeterminate “ball” type occupies 91.88 % of the surface, all grafted and produced in double stem (20,000 plants ha-1); the indeterminate “Saladette” type represents 5.75 %, at a density of 12,000 plants ha-1 (grafted, in double stem) and to 25,000 plants ha-1, without grafting and in a single stem. The rest is composed of the bell pepper (30,000 plants ha-1 in double stem) and “Habanero” pepper (24,000 plants ha-1). These units produce their own seedling except for the grafted ones that are “outsourced” with companies, specialized in this production.

Average yields obtained in this technology for tomatoes are from 240 to 260 t ha-1 in “Saladette” tomato and 240 t ha-1 in “ball” type tomato. For chilies: 35 t ha-1 (macro tunnel) to 50 t ha-1 (shade mesh) in bell pepper and 60 t ha-1 in “Habanero”. Regarding soil disinfection, 42.84 % of producers applies metam sodium and 57.15 % uses insecticides for the soil. Before planting, 62.5 % of producers perform a soil fertility analysis, and during the cycle, 75 % resort to foliar analysis and 50 % to pathological analysis.

It is common to monitor pests by means of yellow traps. The pollination is mechanical (“hit”) in shade meshes, with air (“blower”) in macro tunnels and in greenhouses where the tomatoes predominate, 97.95% of producers do it through bumble bees (Bombus impatiens); the remaining 2.05 % (that corresponds to chilies and peppers), do not use pollination methods. The 54.57 % of the surface in this level of technology represents cultivations in soil and the rest (45.43 %) uses black plastic mulch. It is worth noting that all the surface of shade mesh and macro tunnel is mulched. 100 % of the production units irrigate through drip tapes. Water for irrigation from wells represents 72.29 % of the planted area and of natural springs (0.81 %), with EC values between 0.28-0.4 dS.m-1. The rest (26.90 %) is irrigated with water from rivers or streams.

In 53.77 % of the surface, automated fertigation systems are used with Venturi injectors, and they program their irrigation through tensiometers. In 43.66 % it is made with a tank (where the fertilizers are dissolved) connected to the suction pipe of the pump with which they irrigate, and the remaining (2.57 %) is fertigated with injectors with Venturi suction. In these last two systems, only the field experience of the farmer is applied to program irrigation.

For the maximum use of solar radiation and natural ventilation (lateral and zenithal), greenhouses and their crop lines have North-South orientation; while in macro tunnels and shade meshes, crop lines are in East-West orientated, which allows a higher natural ventilation. The “whitewashing” of greenhouses is only done in the tomato crop, during the hottest and driest months. In the production of “Habanero” pepper it is not practiced due to its tolerance to high solar radiation and temperature. As for the personnel, 75% of the units only have employees for surveillance, cultural tasks and packaging; they pay technical advice to external “growers” or they are supported by input technicians and input suppliers. The rest (25%) has a broader labor structure that incorporates specialized technicians for production.

71.37% acquire their supplies with wholesale suppliers, 26.90% with direct distributors and only 1.73% with local retail sellers. The production is destined in 82.28% to the export to the United States of America (USA), in 16.68% to regional supply centers and in 1.04% to local markets.

4. High technology

Only two companies were classified in this level of technology, with the same number of surveys applied. It was possible to cover a total of 83.08 ha of protected area under greenhouses, of which 83 ha are destined to vegetable production and 0.08 ha to bell pepper seedling production.

They are growing companies, they operate with national and foreign capital, with clear objectives, mission, vision, organization chart and certification of good agricultural practices. They have a wide infrastructure: manufactured greenhouses and built by companies dedicated to this branch, offices, a sanitary area, warehouses and / or processing plants, meteorological stations, guardhouses, reservoirs and/or cisterns, water wells and road access.

The production of indeterminate tomatoes occupies more than 90% of the surface, of which 70% are of the “grape” type. The planting densities are between 24,000-25,000, 14,000 and 12,000 plants ha-1 for grape tomato, Saladette and ball respectively; all managed with double stem. In the green bell pepper, they use densities of 30,000 plants ha-1. Except for the latter, the tomato seedling is grafted, and “outsourcing” services are contracted.

Average yields obtained in this technology are 300 t ha-1 for “Saladette” type and “ball” type tomato, and 5.44 t ha-1 for the “grape” type tomato. In the case of bell pepper, it is projected to obtain 140 t ha-1. The production system is used in coconut fiber substrate, with droppers and picks, and waste solution hydroponics. Water for irrigation comes from wells, with an EC from 0.29 to 0.4 dS.m-1. They have automated fertigation heads, includes pumps with Venturi injectors, and irrigations are programed with the support of lysimeters or the calculation of drainage curves.

They use disinfection or chemigation of the substrate. In addition, they make use of drainage, foliar and pathological analyses. The pollination is carried out through bumble bees (Bombus impatiens) and chromatic traps (yellow color) are used for the massive capture of some pests. The 78.07 % of the surface are Gothic multi-tunnel greenhouses with fixed zenith, with a chapel width of 9.6 m, walls of 4 m, straight or diagonally arranged frontals and only diagonally arranged laterals. Gutter height is 5-5.50 m and the zenith at 8 m, with a 1.3 m opening. Walls and zeniths have anti-aphid mesh and are without a curtain.

The remaining area (21.93 %), recently acquired, corresponds to greenhouses, which contain more air volume, minimize sudden changes in temperature and offer greater luminosity and space inside. They are of the Gothic multi-tunnel type with a semi-automatic folding abutment (Figure 4A) or double zenith which has a folding overhead (“butterfly”) automatic (Figure 4B). With 12.8 m width of the chapel, 6.5 m to the gutter, 9.9 m to the zenith, 1.4 to 1.5 of zenith opening, with retained lateral and frontal walls of 5.5 m, as well as zeniths covered with anti-aphid mesh.

[Figure ID: f4] Figure 4.

A. Multitunnel greenhouse type chapel in Santa María del Oro, Nayarit. B. Multitunnel green house type gothic in Compostela; Nayarit, Mexico. (Photography: L. Rodríguez R.).

Greenhouses and cultivation lines are oriented in North-South direction, with natural ventilation from the frontal, lateral and zenithal directions. They do whitewash and use shading meshes in the part of the main corridor, which is oriented from East to West. They have employees hired specifically for each activity: administrative, surveillance, cultivation tasks, packaging, specialized “growers” by production area, as well as technical advice with external “growers”. More than 90 % of the supplies are purchased with direct distributors and less than 10 % with wholesalers in the region. All their production is exported to the USA.

In Nayarit, protected horticulture is developed under various protective structures such as greenhouses, shade nets, macro tunnels, anti-aphid houses and shade houses, within four levels of technology: rustic, low, medium and high. The climatic diversity allows adapting and using the different structural options, considering the available capital, the local climate and the species to be cultivated within them. While the high technology, just as the macro tunnel and mesh shadow of medium technology, presents a trend to increase its surface, farms with medium technology greenhouses remain stable, with the possibility of migrating to high technology and a decrease of production units of low and rustic technology is expected. The success and functionality are supported by the technification degree used: design, equipment and appropriate management; by its administrative infrastructure; by its organizational structure; by its funding; by the cost of supplies; by the access to markets and the subsequent productivity.

Due to a high index of abandonment in units with low technology, which are in the wrong scale, with deficiencies in the structural design according to the climatic conditions and the lack of competitiveness, it is recommended that the new productive projects correspond to adequate exploitation sizes, incorporate medium to high technology, be better designed and equipped structures according to local conditions, and include training in production, organization and marketing.

fn1Cite this paper: Rodríguez-Ramírez L., Juárez-Rosete C. R., Aguilar-Castillo J. A. (2018). Protected horticulture technology in state of Nayarit, Mexico. Revista Bio Ciencias 5, e374. doi:


We thank the owners of the production units, SAGADERP technicians, independent technicians, growers and managers of companies that contributed to answer the surveys.


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Revista Bio Ciencias, Año 13, vol. 9,  Enero 2022. Sistema de Publicación Continua editada por la Universidad Autónoma de Nayarit. Ciudad de la Cultura “Amado Nervo”,  Col. Centro,  C.P.: 63000, Tepic, Nayarit, México. Teléfono: (01) 311 211 8800, ext. 8922. E-mail:,, Editor responsable: Dra. Karina J. G. Díaz Resendiz. No. de Reserva de derechos al uso exclusivo 04-2010-101509412600-203, ISSN 2007-3380, ambos otorgados por el Instituto Nacional de Derechos de Autor. Responsable de la última actualización de este número Dra. Karina J. G. Díaz Resendiz Secretaria de Investigación y Posgrado, edificio Centro Multidisciplinario de Investigación Científica (CEMIC) 03 de la Universidad Autónoma de Nayarit. La opinión expresada en los artículos firmados es responsabilidad del autor. Se autoriza la reproducción total o parcial de los contenidos e imágenes, siempre y cuando se cite la fuente y no sea con fines de lucro.

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Revista Bio Ciencias por Universidad Autónoma de Nayarit se encuentra bajo una licencia de Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial-SinObraDerivada 4.0 Internacional

Fecha de última actualización 9 de Junio de 2022


licencia de Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial-SinObraDerivada 4.0 Internacional


Dra. Karina J. G. Díaz Resendiz