Mexico: Berries revive the Jalisco countryside

The conversion of traditional crops to fruits of high demand in international markets, such as berries, is one of the main bets for the Jalisco field, which has begun to fill with greenhouses in some locations.

The economic benefits for producers of the so-called red fruits are considerably higher compared to traditional crops such as corn.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Rural Development (Seder) of Jalisco, the past agricultural cycle corn had a price in rural areas of 3,079 pesos per ton, with a productivity of 5.72 tons per hectare, which means that the producer of this grain received 17,611 pesos for each hectare of this crop.

Meanwhile, in the case of cranberry, the yield was 9.32 tons per hectare with an average price of 20,318 pesos per ton (almost 660% higher than the price of corn), which is an income for the producer of 189,363 pesos for each hectare cultivated.

The best quoted

However, among the wide variety of berries grown in the state, there are others with higher productivity, such as raspberries, which last agricultural cycle had an average yield of 14.64 tons per hectare and a price of 17,105 pesos; that is, 250,417 pesos per hectare.

In the strawberry crop, Jalisco obtained an average yield of 34.29 tons per hectare with an average price of 10,536 pesos per ton; that is, an income of 361,279 pesos per hectare for the producers of this fruit.

The blackberry was another high yield crop, with an average productivity of 17.13 tons per hectare at a price of 12,004 pesos per ton, which means a value of 205,628 pesos per hectare.

Investment required

However, the conversion of crops is not so simple or so accessible for most of the agro-producers.

According to Fernando Nava, director of Hortofrutícola of the Seder, to cultivate berries requires an average initial investment of 1 million 100,000 pesos, since this type of crops requires the installation of macrotúneles, irrigation, well drilling and quilting, among others requirements.

On the other hand, he said, if you want to grow berries it is necessary to have certifications and in advance to have the previous connection with the companies that guarantee the commercialization of strawberries.

"They are specialty crops and the main thing is that all export crops must be safe. The processes of innocuity in the field and the safety processes in packaging are basic, it is an indispensable requisite for export, "said Nava.

He added that a producer of berries "It must be linked to companies that guarantee the commercialization. You have to produce what the market demands… In addition, the equipment is basic because the berries are very delicate, so all the logistics and the movement of the product you have to have mastered".

Jalisco in the sector

Currently Jalisco is the main national producer of raspberry and blueberry with 1,512 and 611 hectares cultivated, respectively, while strawberry has cultivated 480 hectares and blackberry 431.

In total, the state has 4,000 hectares and 1,000 producers dedicated to berries, but the state plans to grow an additional 3,000 hectares in three years, due to the demand for berries in international markets, mainly in China, to where a first loading last January.

The main markets for the export of Jalisco berries are the United States, the European Union, Canada and Japan.



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