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Mexico’s North American Lineup

What it takes to keep exports flowing north
MS_NAmerican Lineup

Avocados are second to only tomatoes as Canada’s largest agri-food imports from Mexico. According to Statistics Canada, the country’s avocado import volume increased by more than 255 percent from 2006 to 2016—and another 11 percent from 2015 to 2016. More than 95 percent of Canadian avocado imports come from Mexico.

As for the United States, avocados are the nation’s number one fruit import from south of the border, representing 22 percent of all Mexican fruit imports in volume. It is important to note that although the United States imports the lion’s share of its avocados from Mexico, both California and Florida produce the fruit and dominate regional supply during their growing seasons.

Avocado imports from Mexico decrease as these local favorites become available, generally over the summer months. Quite simply, though, U.S. production cannot keep up with demand, so it must augment supply with imports.

Bountiful Berries
Berries, like avocados and mangos, are big business for Mexico. As American and Canadian demand for the sweet and tart fruits continues to rise, so do berry imports from Mexico—particularly blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries. The combined export value of these shipments has climbed to more than $1.5 billion annually.

When it comes to blackberries, Mexico is the U.S.’s go-to source; it also turns to Mexico for strawberries in the winter to fill gaps in domestic production, and these cold-weather imports have steadily increased over the past two decades. Mexico also ships its fair share of berries to the True North, with fresh raspberries as Canada’s third largest agri-food import from Mexico.

As Mexican growers race to keep up with demand, berry acreage is on the rise across the nation. Gerardo A. López is commercial vice president of the aptly-named Berry Lovers brand, which grows and distributes berries through Growers Union, LLC. The company specializes in Mexican blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries.

“We’re growers of conventional and organic blueberries in Jalisco, with a 200-acre operation,” López shares, adding that the company has plans to double its Jalisco blueberry acreage in the coming years. “Demand for berries is growing and consumers are aware of the Mexican blueberry’s quality,” he notes.

“Blackberry volume has remained stable for the last couple of years, but blueberries are on the rise, and it seems this trend will continue for a few years.”