Berries were Mexico’s biggest agroexport in the first two months of 2023, beating out not only avocados, but beer and tequila.
I didn’t know that beer and tequila could be considered agroexports, but I guess they can, given the raw materials they are made of.
Export sales of berries of all types amounted to $777 million for those months, outstripping $757 million for beer and $616 million for tequila. The single largest category was blueberries.
The fourth largest export in those months was tomatoes, valued at $574 million. Avocados came fifth, at $545 million, even though January and February are months of high consumption for the fruit in the U.S., particularly because of Super Bowl celebrations.
Mexico News Daily quoted María Blanca Martínez Barajas, a Puebla, Mexico-based academic who has researched Mexico’s berry industry, as saying that national berry production has almost quadrupled in the past 10 years. Berries beat out beer for Mexico’s top agro-export spot in 2023 (mexiconewsdaily.com)
The berry industry is said to employ 500,000 nationwide in Mexico. But because of the high price for the fruit, it is beyond the reach of most Mexicans’ purchasing power, so it is grown principally for export.
One striking aspect of the rise in Latin American berry production is that U.S. producers have been relatively quiet about import competition. Although some small and medium-level growers still complain about imports, the industry overall has made no great objections.
The reason for this seems clear: U.S. berry producers have expanded across the border to ensure year-round supplies—an advantage not only for their own income but for customers, whose purchases are thereby simplified.
Indeed, the greatest revolution in the produce industry over the past two decades may well involve the rise of the year-round supplier.