The spread of the coronavirus in the United States and the possible decrease in the demand for exotic fruits could compromise the export of more than 20,000 tons of rambutan produced in the Mexican state of Chiapas.
Victor Hugo Perez Saldaña, of Exotics and Agriculture, stated that 80% of all of the state's rambutan production was destined for the United States. “80% is exported to the United States, 10% to Guatemala, and the rest is for national consumption; we could lose more than 200 million pesos,” Perez Saldaña stated.
The economic situation in the United States has become critical, after registering almost 1,350,000 infections and more than 80,000 deaths by May 12. The forced closure of businesses and the increase in unemployment could cause a 30% contraction in the country's growth in the second quarter and a 5% contraction in 2020, according to Pacific Investment Management Co (PIMCO).
Rambutan is mainly produced in Chiapas' coastal municipalities, such as Cacahoatan, Union Juárez, Tuxtla Chico, and Frontera Hidalgo. There are at least 2,000 cultivated hectares and each year this crop generates more than 300,000 jobs, which could now be at risk.
This Friday, producers will begin to prepare a 6-ton shipment to the US, where the kilo will be sold for up to $ 20, which could represent hope.
"Rambutan is not a staple product, but perhaps the people in quarantine will consume it more and ask us for more. We hope the emergency ends by June 1st, as we expect the strongest harvest will take place at the end of May and June,” he stated.