The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development stated that the first shipments of table grapes produced in the Mexican state of Sonora were already on their way to South Korea. The first shipment with 16.72 tons of the Sweet Sapphire grape variety departed from the Port of Manzanillo on June 23, 2020. The second shipment departed one day later with 14.68 tons of the Sweet Globe variety. On the 26th of this month, another 6 shipments will be sent with a total of 94.36 tons, all of which have been certified by technicians from the National Health Service, Safety, and Agricultural Food Quality (Senasica).
Previously, the producers had sent by air a sample of 20 boxes with 159 kilograms of the Sweet Globe and Candy Cotton varieties. This shipment was sent via the Los Angeles, California airport, and was bound for South Korea's Incheon International Airport.
The Ministry of Agriculture stated that, so far and after several years of negotiations, the South Korean government has authorized 10 packing plants and 19 production units in Caborca, Hermosillo, Empalme, Carbó, San Miguel de Horcasitas, and Guaymas, Sonora, to export table grapes to their country.
Accelerating the opening of this market is part of the actions carried out by the Government of Mexico to support the economy of Mexican farmers in the face of the contingency caused by COVID-19. To achieve this, Senasica proposed to the Korean health authority a mechanism aimed at streamlining the entry of this product.
In response, on May 8, the Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency of the Republic of Korea (APQA) officially informed the agency of the Ministry of Agriculture that, in light of the worldwide health emergency, it authorized the start of table grape exports from Sonora before its technicians carried out the on-site inspection. To do this, it asked Senasica to carry out the required inspection in the authorized packing plants and orchards, in order to guarantee compliance with the protocol agreed.
According to data from the Agri-Food and Fisheries Information Service (SIAP), Mexico has 24,000 hectares of vineyards that produce about 375,000 tons of table grapes a year. The main producers are in Sonora, with 319,000; Zacatecas, with 43,000, and Aguascalientes, with 5,475 tons.
In 2018, Mexico exported more than 146,000 tons of grapes worth an estimated 198 million dollars to the United States, Japan, Guatemala, El Salvador, Belize, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Panama, and China.