“Blueberries in Mexico are going through a moment of transition”
The former president of the National Association of Berry Exporters of Mexico (Aneberries), José Luis Bustamante, is a renowned agro-fruit businessman who, in his role as leader of the Mexican organization that brings together berry exporters, had to face the conflict with the American producers in the past “Safeguard Case”, successfully overcoming and emerging stronger from the economic and commercial challenge that it had to face with the US supervisory bodies.
Now retired from leading Aneberries, he serves as the executive responsible for Naturberry SA de CV, (subsidiary company of Naturipe Berry Growers) dedicated to the marketing of fresh strawberries, both for export to the United States and Canada and to serve the Mexican market. The company has 132 associated farmers, from producers with 1 hectare to some with more than 45 hectares, which correspond to 10% of the export market in Central Mexico.
In the current season they are a little behind due to climatic reasons, however, they maintain good health in the plants, which allows them to be optimistic regarding the production and quality of the products, which will allow them to supply their customers in good time and shape. In the field of innovation, they participate in high-tech greenhouse production, with a current area of 6 hectares, “which are very productive and 100% sustainable.”
José Luis Bustamante comments that currently the markets, especially the North American market, demand berries 52 weeks a year, with the best flavor, consistency, safety and recently, sustainability. Therefore, Mexico's participation in the world market is essential to achieve that objective. "In our case, Mexico exports strawberries to the United States from the end of October to March, months in which the supply of fruit decreases considerably," he explains.
His vision of the Mexican berry industry
“The berry industry in Mexico continues to grow, perhaps less explosive, but definitely more orderly and focused on new genetics that ensure better return prices to producers. In my opinion there are still great growth opportunities in Raspberry and Blackberry for productive varieties that satisfy the consumer,” he declares.
“Strawberries in Mexico are experiencing great growth in higher altitude areas in Central Mexico, mainly in Michoacán (Lagunillas, Morelia etc.) and Jalisco (Arandas, Tepatitlán etc.) this allows us to have good quality fruit in the “ “shoulders” of the season, that is, March – April and October, which expands the export window,” he adds.
He comments that blueberries in Mexico are going through a moment of transition in two senses, the first genetic, with a replacement of the Biloxy variety for new varieties of better size, flavor, and consistency. Second, the crop is spreading to other production areas, such as Sinaloa or Baja California, he says.
Future of Aneberries
“The future of Aneberries is bright, our new president, Eng. Miguel Ángel Curiel, is a great leader and team builder, and we are in a growth stage, incorporating not only new members, but other actors in the berry industry, such as Genetics, Nurseries, Processors etc. those who will enrich our association”, he concludes.
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