Mexico plans to produce twice as many "berries"

In the next four years, Mexico plans to double its production of "berries" due to increased demand from China, the second largest economy in the world. Exports of "berries" from Mexico are valued at about 1.500 billion dollars annually and increase by 20% each year, according to Mario Alejandro Andrade Cárdenas, vice president of Foreign Trade of the National Agricultural Council of Mexico.

"Thanks to this enormous growth, to which China has contributed in part, it is likely that we will be able to double our berry production in less than four years," says Andrade.

"Our exports of 'berries' to China have increased a lot after having signed protocols for raspberries and blackberries at the end of 2014, and we hope to complete the protocols for strawberries and blueberries as soon as possible".

There are some 5.000 berry producers in the states of Baja California, Jalisco, Michoacán, Guanajuato and Puebla, who cultivate 25.000 hectares and generate 120.000 permanent jobs. 85% of its production is exported to the United States, which imports almost all its strawberries from Mexico.

In November 2014, the Chinese government signed an agreement to import raspberries and blackberries from Mexico, with the first batch arriving in Shanghai in January last year. However, competition from Chile and Peru continues to be an obstacle for Mexican berry exporters.

"We compete directly with Chile and Peru in the Chinese market, since they have free trade agreements with China and we don't, so we face 25% export taxes that hurt us a lot", says Andrade, and hopes that the Chinese government will cancel that tariff. He affirms that Mexican "berries" are more competitive than those of other countries because Mexico can offer them nine months a year.

In addition, Mexico's blueberry production is growing by 70% a year and will become one of the largest categories in the country's agricultural sector, he concludes.


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