In this installment of the ‘Agronometrics In Charts’ series, Sarah Ilyas studies the state of the Mexican berry market. Each week the series looks at a different horticultural commodity, focusing on a specific origin or topic visualizing the market factors that are driving change.
During the first quarter of 2022, berries replaced beer as Mexico’s number one agri-food export product.
According to calculations by the Grupo Consultor de Mercados Agrícolas (GCMA, a Mexican agricultural consultancy firm), based on information from the Bank of Mexico, Mexico exported 1,395 billion USD of berries in the first quarter of 2022, a 22.5% increase compared to Q1 of 2021. In the same time span, beer exports increased by 16.8%, from 1,185 billion UDS to 1,384 billion USD.
“Proudly we are already the number one product. As of the first quarter of 2022, berries are already the most exported product from Mexico, surpassing beer and avocado,” Rigoberto Guerrero, CEO of Hortifrut Mexico said at The XXII International Blueberry Seminar which took place on May 25 and 26 at Expo Guadalajara in Mexico.
The National Association of Berry Exporters has projected that in 2022, the total value of raspberry exports will exceed $3 billion. Berries are grown in 22 of the 32 states in Mexico with Michoacán, Jalisco, Guanajuato, Sinaloa and Baja California being the primary producing areas.
Jalisco has around 10,000 hectares of berry farms and contributes 50 percent of the total export volume. Owing to heavy mechanization, growers obtain higher yields per hectare.
In the last decade, strawberry, blueberry and raspberry production has tripled from 257,000 metric tons (MT) in 2011 to 754,000MT in 2020.
The total value of Mexican berry exports has increased fivefold during that time from US$516 million in 2011 to US$2.4 billion in 2020.
Raspberry exports have increased dramatically from $180 million in 2011 to $1.1 billion in 2020.
At the height of the current season, in week 4, a total of 13 K tonnes of strawberries were recorded, a 28 percent increase compared to the previous season.
“We must stand out for belonging to an industry that travels along the path of sustainability; of responsibility towards the environment; that tries to be a pioneer in the application of clean technology throughout its process; and that it never leaves the hand of science and research for its development”, highlighting that the map of the cultivation and consumption of blueberries has spread throughout the planet.
Although he warned: “Not everyone can reach the industry and compete in equal footing. We have to take care of our industry, take care of our prestige and protect our business,” says Jorge Esquivel, manager of Blueberries Consulting.
According to Alejandro Velásquez, general director of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, “The best way to face global challenges is precisely to stay united”, referring to the importance of the Mexican industry- he said:
“If we talk specifically about the production of berries, we know that more than 10% of all the berries consumed in the world are produced in our country. Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries are produced in 23 of the 32 states in the country.”
A peak volume of 3.4 K tonnes was recorded for raspberries in week 9, a 27 percent increase compared to the previous season.
This season, the peak volume for blackberries was recorded at 2.5 K tonnes in week 4, displaying a 38 percent increase compared to the previous season.
The Mexican industry is a pioneer in the production of blueberries. According to Rigoberto Guerrero, CEO of Hortifrut Mexico, labor, water and agrochemicals are the major issues faced by the industry currently. Despite these challenges, Mexico has been able to allocate 95% of its production to the US and Canadian markets, destinations to which volumes have tripled in recent seasons.
All pricing for domestic US produce represents the spot market at Shipping Point (i.e. packing house/climate controlled warehouse, etc.). For imported fruit, the pricing data represents the spot market at Port of Entry.
Written by: Sarah Ilyas