Image credits: CIMMYT
Weekly Roundups

Deputy Minister of Agriculture No More

By Jan Hogewoning | Thu, 10/01/2020 - 17:06

Citing austerity measures, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER) is terminating the position of deputy minister of agriculture. At the same time, it is stressing that the activities of the undersecretariat will not be impeded.

The controversial label reform for pre-packaged foods and non-alcoholic beverages is officially becoming a reality. The reform, which was created as part of the new Health Law of 2019, continues to face significant opposition from food and beverage companies and industry organizations.


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Austerity Measures

On Oct. 1, the position of Deputy Minister of Agriculture, held by Miguel García Winder, is being terminated as a result of austerity measures announced by President López Obrador. García Winder will be proposed as Mexican representative for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN.


Labeling Reform

On Oct. 1, the new front labeling for prepackaged foods and non-alcoholic beverages officially comes into force. “(The labeling reform) seeks to present the nutritional information of the industrialized products consumed in a simpler way for the consumer,” says a note from El Economista. The new labeling is included among the modifications to the Official Mexican Norm NOM-051-SCFI / SSA1-2010 (NOM-051) published in the Official Gazette of the Federation on March 27, 2020.

Around 50 companies and organizations have signed lawsuits, or amparos, against the labeling reform. Alfonso Guati, General Director of Standards at the Ministry of Economy, has stated that he does not expect these lawsuits to be resolved until 2025. Amongst the filing parties are the Confederation of Industrial Chambers of the United Mexican States (CONCAMIN), the National Agricultural Council (CNA), the Business Coordinating Council (CCE), Coca-Cola FEMSA, Unilever, the Mexican Council of the Consumer Products Industry, Bebidas Refrescantes de Nogales, World Drinks and Hershey’s.


Agreement Between ANTAD and SENASICA

The National Service for Agrifood Health, Safety and Quality (SENASICA) is to sign an agreement with the National Association of Self-Service and Department Stores (ANTAD), which means 64,570 ANTAD stores will sell 10 different products from agricultural companies that are certified in Pollution Risk Reduction Systems (SRRC). The products will be strawberry, chili, coriander, tomato, banana, mango, papaya, melon, lettuce and avocado. The certification demonstrates a lower level of contaminants presence in the product. The association has also agreed to push for marketing of these products.

In the announcement for the virtual ANTAD expo, to take place later this month, the head of economic studies of ANTAD stated this week that he does not expect the self-service and department stores sector to recover from the COVID-19-induced economic depression before 2022. This estimate is more optimistic than forecasts regarding GDP performance of the sector, which seem to indicate recovery would not happen until 2025 when put against 2018 figures.


New Complaints from US fresh-produce producers

Outstanding export performance of berries and peppers produced in Mexico has generated new complaints from US producers, Agencia Reforma reports. US producers are questioning whether the Mexican government has promoted the sectors in any way using subsidies. Meanwhile, Mexican producers interviewed by the media agency have stated that their increased output is due to investment and adoption of technology. Agencia Reforma also reports some staggering figures. In the last eight years, shipments of Mexican strawberries to the US grew 17.3 percent annually, with a value of US$842 million in 2019. Mexico is the world's third-largest producer of strawberries and its main export destination is the US at 90 percent of total exports. Strawberries are produced in 10 states, but mainly in Michoacan, Guanajuato, Baja California and Baja California Sur. In the case of peppers, growth has been 12.3 percent each year on average, to a level of US$737 million during 2019.


Bayer Announces Progress in Virus-Resistant Tomato Variety

On Wednesday, Bayer announced the final tests leading up to the large-scale launch of Saladette tomatoes, which would help growers tackle the tomato brown rugose fruit virus (Tobamovirus, ToBRFV). The launch is intended to take place later this month, including two saladette-type tomato varieties that have been claimed to have Intermediate Resistance (IR) to the virus that has affected Mexican growers in recent times.


The data used in this article was sourced from:  
El Economista, El Financiero, AM, Agencia Reforma, AgroNoticias, Mexico Business News, SADER
Photo by:   CIMMYT
Jan Hogewoning Jan Hogewoning Journalist and Industry Analyst