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Berry Boom: The Economic and Social Benefits of Berry Production

By Juan Jose Flores Garcia - Aneberries (National Berries Exporters Association)
General Manager


Juan Jose Flores By Juan Jose Flores | General Manager - Tue, 04/11/2023 - 15:00

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As I take a stroll through the picturesque berry fields of Mexico, I can't help but marvel at the vibrant colors of the raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries that grow here. Not only are these berries a sight to behold, but they also have a positive impact on Mexico’s economy and the communities that rely on them for their livelihood. The berry industry in Mexico has been booming in recent years, placing berries among  the Top 5 agrifood products for exports and foreign exchange generation for the country. 

Mexico is the world's biggest producer of blackberries, the second of raspberries, the third of strawberries, and the sixth of blueberries. This is largely because Mexican berries are known in the international market for their flavor and quality. Personally, I find Mexican berries to be a source of national pride, not only because of the great demand for them at the international level, but also because of the social benefits they bring to the communities where they are produced.  

In the last decade, the production area of berries has grown from 24,000 hectares to 55,000, with a presence in 22 of the 32 states. The highest production volume is in the central and northern regions, particularly the states of Jalisco, Michoacan, Baja California and Sinaloa. 

According to INEGI, in the first quarter of 2022, Jalisco, Baja California, Michoacan and Sinaloa showed an increase in the Quarterly Indicator of State Economic Activity (ITAEE), compared to the same quarter of the previous year, and are ranked  ninth , tenth, eleventh  and fourteenth, respectively, among states with an increase in this indicator. In addition, in this same quarter, the GDP of primary activities grew 2.1% with respect to the same period of the previous year. 

This growth has not only been in economic terms, but also individually for the producing communities, without which it would not be possible to deliver the quality berries that are so well known in the world.

At the national level, berries generate more than 470,000 formal jobs at all levels of the production chain. These jobs consist of people working in the fields as day laborers, harvesters, and field technicians, but there are also people working in offices in management positions. The salaries for people working in the field vary greatly depending on their abilities, skills, and experience, but all workers earn above the minimum wage. 

Moreover, the industry has also helped to improve the health and education of the local communities. Many berry companies have initiated health and wellness programs for their workers, which include regular health check-ups and access to medical care. Additionally, many companies have made collaborations with schools and universities to guarantee that their workers and their families have access to education. 

In addition, berry companies also invest in education programs for their workers and their families. These programs include literacy classes, computer skills training, and vocational training. By providing these educational opportunities, the companies are equipping their workers with the skills to keep improving their livelihood. 

Another significant social advantage of the berry industry is its impact on gender equality. Many women work in the berry fields, and the industry has helped to empower them and improve their social status. Women now have access to better-paying jobs and more opportunities for career advancement.

Furthermore, the berry industry has also contributed to environmental and labor sustainability. These issues have become increasingly relevant internationally , derived from climate change problems and the reform of the Labor Law. These issues are the main priorities  for nongovernmental groups who view them  as the main objectives for  international cooperation and project planning. As a result of all this, the berry industry e has an opportunity to develop further, from its organizational structure to guarantee integrity among workers, safety in work spaces, implementing sustainable technologies in the extension of the value chain of the crop, community dialogue, social inquiring and labor standards.  Berry production relies on careful management of water, soil, and other natural resources. Berry companies in Mexico have implemented sustainable farming practices, such as using drip irrigation systems. These practices not only help to preserve the environment but also ensure the long-term viability of the industry.

The berry industry has also helped to create a sense of community in the region. Many berry companies provide housing for their workers, which helps to create a sense of belonging and camaraderie among the workers. The companies also organize social events, such as festivals and sports tournaments, which bring the community together and promote a sense of unity.

In conclusion, the positive economic and social impact of berry production is undeniable. The industry has brought about economic growth, improved health, education, income, and created greater gender income equality for workers, and with a great focus on environmental sustainability. 

Photo by:   Juan Jose Flores Garcia

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