Strawberry Exports Break All-Time RecordBy María Fernanda Barría | Wed, 05/05/2021 - 17:19
For the first time Mexico has become the world's largest strawberry exporter as of 2020. The Ministry of Economy indicated that strawberry exports reached nearly US$851 million in 2020, an increase of 12.4 percent when compared to 2019. In prior years Spain used to lead this category when the country sold US$646 million worth of strawberries, while the US reached US$477 million.The US is Mexico´s top importer of strawberries, where approximately 99.3 percent of total Mexican exports were headed to the US in 2020, reported El Economista. Michoacán is the leading strawberry producer since it contributes to 68.7 percent of the total national volume, followed by l Baja California with 17.9 percent, and Guanajuato with 9.4 percent.
Overall berry production in the country has increased. Mexico is the second world's largest raspberry producer and last year, the country produced 135,200 tons, of which 98,800 tons were exported. In addition, Mexico is the leading global blackberry producer with 309,900 tons in 2020, of which 80,800 tons were exported.
This production increase has boosted labor demand, and the agriculture sector has developed despite de pandemic. Víctor Villalobos Arámbula, secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER), said there are between seven and nine million-day laborers in Mexico, a figure insufficient to satisfy the labor requirement of the agricultural sector. In an effort to satisfy this demand, the berry industry has created thousands of employments sources and has transformed the landscape of many communities in the country. "Berry crops cover around 50 thousand ha, generating approximately 400,000 jobs, which abide to all regulations and benefits determined by the Federal Labor Law. One of the guidelines we have worked on very much is social responsibility, because it is not only a question of making it a profitable industry, but the industry must also be sustainable in order to commitment to the well-being of the communities," said Juan José Flores García, director of the National Association of Berry Exporters to El Universal.
Despite the implementation of the USMCA treaty to promote an increase in food production, tensions have surged. In recent months US growers in Florida and Georgia have been pressuring their government to protect themselves from imports. Their main concern is that Mexico is increasing imports into the US market with low-cost productions that make it difficult for US farmers to compete against these prices and conditions.