Mexican apple production is expected to rebound in marketing year 2019/20, recovering from extensive weather damage that affected supplies last year. Mexican imports of U.S. apples are expected to return to more stable levels in 2019/20, following the removal of the 20 percent tariff in May 2019 that was in place for nearly a year, as a retaliatory measure against U.S. tariffs on Mexican steel and aluminum.
Mexican imports fell nearly 16 percent during this period in comparison to 2017/18, which can be attributable to both the tariff as well as tight supplies out of Washington State due to adverse weather.
Mexican consumers remain price sensitive purchasers of fruit, and with more favorable apple prices for 2019/20, consumption is expected to rebound, resulting in a slight decrease to pear consumption. Meanwhile, Mexican grape exports are forecast at high levels for 2019/20, after logistical challenges prohibited the export of supplies in 2018/19.
The total area planted for 2019/20 is forecast at 57,405 hectares, a marginal decrease from 2018/19, mainly on a large decrease in the state of Durango that was marginally offset by an increase in Chihuahua. Area harvested is also forecast to decrease 3.36 percent compared to the previous year.
Industry sources report that large-scale and technologically sophisticated growers in Chihuahua are renewing old orchards and planting with greater tree densities as well as slowly increasing planted area.
High-density production accounts for approximately 30 percent of Chihuahua’s planted area. The remainder of the apple producing area is planted at more traditional spacing of 350-400 trees per hectare. Smaller producers tend to remain with the same area density, as they cannot afford to invest.