Concordia's Thriving Agricultural and Handmade Economies

Discover Concordia's transformative journey from furniture capital to a tourism and artisanal crafts hub. Explore the rise of minimalist furniture production, the allure of rural agriculture, and the empowering world of handmade crafts.

Concordia's Thriving Agricultural and Handmade Economies
Skilled artisans in Concordia craft handmade furniture, blending traditional craftsmanship with minimalist design. Credit: INFORMAZ

Concordia, a once-thriving municipality in Mexico, has experienced significant challenges over the past decades. The decline of the furniture industry, which had long been the backbone of the local economy, plunged the population into a deep crisis. However, amidst this adversity, the resilient community of Concordia has found new avenues for growth and revitalization.

From embracing minimalist furniture production to fostering artisanal crafts and exploring the potential of tourism, the municipality is undergoing a renaissance of sorts. Let's delve into the transformative journey of Concordia and the promising industries shaping its future.

In the 1980s, Concordia boasted nearly 200 carpentry workshops specializing in the manufacturing of colonial and Provençal-style furniture. These skilled artisans crafted exquisite pieces from the venadillo tree, cedar, mahogany, and amapa. One particular highlight was the iconic poltronas or rocking chairs, which could be found in every household.

Concordia's furniture gained international recognition, establishing the city as the Sinaloa Capital of Colonial Furniture. Mr. Ricardo Vizcarra, a pioneering figure in the industry, played a pivotal role in its development.

Today, Concordia's furniture industry has undergone a significant transformation. While only a handful of carpentry workshops remain within the municipality, the neighboring town of Mesillas, a mere 5 kilometers away, has emerged as the epicenter of the small furniture industry. These workshops, accompanied by showrooms, have embraced a minimalist approach to furniture manufacturing.

They now cater to a diverse range of customer demands, producing everything from doors, kitchens, and closets to carving units, living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms. Additionally, El Huajote is another area where furniture manufacturing establishments can be found, further contributing to the industry's resurgence.

Agriculture and the Rise of Tourism

Concordia's decline in mining activity, after centuries of exploitation, prompted the municipality to explore alternative economic opportunities. Tourism became a focal point, although the journey has not been without its hurdles. The recent sanitary contingency decrees have exacerbated the challenges faced by migration toward tourism. Nevertheless, Concordia's inherent rural charm and cultural heritage provide a solid foundation for the development of tourism as a sustainable economic pillar.

Concordia is also home to several mineral processing plants located in Pánuco, El Coco, and the municipal seat. While their production might not be of paramount significance, these plants contribute to the local economy and provide employment opportunities for the residents. Additionally, El Batel houses a sawmill, albeit with modest production levels. Despite the challenges faced by the once-thriving mining industry, these industrial endeavors play a role in sustaining the municipality's economic landscape.

Remaining true to its rural roots, Concordia continues to rely on agriculture and cattle raising for sustenance. In the towns of Zavala, El Verde, and La Concepción, nestled in a small valley within the Concordia stream basin, crops such as corn, beans, chili peppers, tomatoes, plums, and mangoes flourish. The area's rich harvest has led to the production and marketing of processed products like jams, orejón, and chamoy, derived from mangoes and plums.

Aguacaliente de Gárate, the second most important town in the municipality, occupies a strategic position along the Mexico-Nogales International Highway, just 25 minutes from the municipal seat. This town serves as a crucial hub for exporting dehydrated mangoes to the United States and Europe. It also holds historical significance as the birthplace of the Anthem of the State of Sinaloa, composed by Faustino López Osuna.

Despite the highlands' immense potential for fruit and flower cultivation, limited efforts have been made to catalyze significant economic growth in this area. The production remains largely rustic and artisanal, although the region boasts favorable conditions for the cultivation of avocados, coffee, peaches, apples, pears, tejocote, blackberries, and other fruits.

Furthermore, the highlands are ideal for nurturing the growth of exquisite flowers like alcatraz, gladiola, and noche buena, among others. Despite the untapped potential, the lack of substantial investment and modern agricultural practices has hindered the region's economic takeoff.

Artisanal Crafts and Looking Ahead

In recent years, the women of Concordia have taken the reins in the realm of artisanal crafts. Utilizing pine leaves, locally known as barbasca, these skilled artisans create intricate handicrafts that reflect the region's natural beauty and cultural heritage. The craftsmanship and creativity displayed in these handmade products have garnered attention and appreciation from both locals and visitors alike. This resurgence in traditional crafts not only preserves local traditions but also empowers women, providing them with an avenue for economic independence and creative expression.

Concordia's journey of transformation and adaptation showcases the resilience and tenacity of its people. From the decline of the furniture industry to the emergence of tourism, the municipality has diversified its economic pursuits. By embracing minimalist furniture manufacturing, cultivating agricultural products, exploring the potential of tourism, and promoting artisanal crafts, Concordia is redefining its identity and laying the foundation for a prosperous future.

As the municipality continues to navigate the challenges brought forth by changing economic landscapes and external circumstances, the spirit of Concordia remains unyielding. With its rich cultural heritage, picturesque landscapes, and the determination of its inhabitants, Concordia stands poised to carve a new path, where tradition and innovation coexist harmoniously.

Visiting Concordia today offers a glimpse into a community on the cusp of transformation. As you wander through the streets, take in the splendor of minimalist furniture, savor the flavors of locally grown produce, and immerse yourself in the beauty of handmade crafts.

Above all, witness the spirit of a town that refuses to be defined by its challenges, but rather embraces the opportunity to reinvent itself. Concordia's renaissance is underway, and its story of resilience and renewal serves as an inspiration for communities far and wide.

In-Text Citation: Brito Osuna, Rigoberto. Concordia, Libro- Guía De Turismo. 1st ed., Mexico, Secretaría De Turismo de Gobierno de México, 2020.