Lopez Obrador looks to tree planting to create Mexico jobs

July 30, 2018

In this Sunday, July 22, 2018 photo, Mexico's President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador listens to a reporter's question outside his party's headquarters, in Mexico City. Lopez Obrador announced a $16 billion investment plan Friday, July 27, 2018, to boost flagging oil production, refinery capacity and electrical generation. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says he wants to create 400,000 jobs by planting 1 million hectares (2.47 million acres) with timber and fruit trees.

Lopez Obrador said in a video posted Sunday that he wants to plant half the total amount in 2019, focusing on timber species like cedar and mahogany. The other half would be planted in 2020.

Referring to the Usumacinta river basin near the border with Guatemala, Lopez Obrador said 50,000 to 100,000 hectares could be planted there. He said the upper canopy of timber species could provide cover for cacao plantings beneath. Cacao is the source of chocolate.

Lopez Obrador sees the planting program as a way to offer rural Mexicans work in their home communities, so they do not have to emigrate.

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