Drug cartel violence affecting farmers on both sides of the border

Persistent drug cartel violence in Mexico is giving local onion growers a glimmer of hope.

Dr. Juan Anciso is a vegetable specialist with Texas AgriLife Extension in Weslaco.

He says some Rio Grande Valley onion farmers believe violence in Mexico may keep Mexican onions out of U.S. markets.

As a partial result, Anciso says local onion growers have already planted 800 more onion acres than last year.

Anciso says he TMs heard the hardships of Mexican farmers firsthand.

"They've had their equipment stolen, said Anciso, They've had to pay some percentage when they deliver| so, it's just been a lot of extortion."

But troubles of Mexican farmers combined with dry weather have local farmers hoping to put more green in their pockets, especially after a tough season last year.

It was a difficult, difficult growing season, said local onion grower Jack Wallace.

And a successful season could mean lower onion prices for valley shoppers, many of whom are already struggling with high food prices.

Everything is so expensive, said Valley shopper Minerva Gonzalez.

But the onions are still green and not quite mature.

Doctor Anciso says it TMs still too early to tell how valley onions will fare, and if drug violence could pluck their Mexican competition out of the game.