Growing interest in raspberry crops in Mexico

In the last seven years Mexico has become, as a producer of berries, a major player in the world, especially in the US market.

The article "Productive reality of raspberries in the United States and Mexico" written by the agronomist Andrés Bascopé at the request of the Office of studies and agricultural policies of Chile (ODEPA) through Agrimundo, competitive intelligence platform, says that while the raspberry is the most productive and traded berry internationally, Mexico's share is almost marginal.

However, the production and trade of other berries, such as the blackberry, is rising, providing about 7% in world production.

The article details a series of reasons that explain why interest for raspberries has increased. These include high profitability; quick return (starting the second year); the intensive use of labour; the fruits' versatility for consumption; and their great export potential.

Mexico has exported fresh and frozen raspberries and blackberries to the US, a market where they face strong competition from Canada - a premier provider of fresh raspberries to the United States - Chile, Costa Rica, Brazil and Guatemala, among others, countries that also provide blackberries to the US market.

The report highlights the excellent soil and climatic conditions for the overall production of berries in Mexico. Currently the states of Jalisco, Michoacan and Baja California account for most of the production.

In terms of market players, there is a significant number of foreign companies that have invested in the berry business in Mexico and that have major operations and facilities in the country. Among them are several Chilean companies.

There are different types or production systems, some more and some less intensive. The article says the main leading companies in the market work in an intensive mode that includes the use of greenhouses and high-yielding varieties adapted to the soil and climate of the area.

In Mexico, the use of greenhouses aims to protect crops from adverse weather conditions such as hail, heavy rain, sunburn, etc., since the temperature and humidity conditions keep growing plants permanently stimulated.

Other companies opt for intensive production, rotating the plant every year and aiming to achieve yields of 13 tons per hectare a year. Other growers prefer to keep plants for several years, yielding no more than 10 tonnes per hectare a year.

There are associations within the sector, such as Aneberries (Berries Exporters Association) that represent the exporters' interests and allow them to strengthen ties with producers.

Harvest is between the months of October and April, so it is far more extensive than in the US, where it is much more concentrated.

Among the conclusions of the article it's worth noting that the high profitability for Mexican producers is due to two elements. The first of them, is the returns per kilo, since they access a window of high prices compared to the US production. The second one is the low cost of production per kilo compared to US.

According to the article, these factors make it a very attractive and competitive business, which - since they compete for the same price window - partly justifies how the Chilean production has been affected.

Source: portalfruticola

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