According to Victor Villalobos Arambula, the head of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (Sader), the implementation of the T-MEC Treaty between Mexico, the United States, and Canada and the rearrangements in the production of food caused by the pandemic will lead to a growth in Mexico's agricultural production that could force the country to import labor.
In an interview with El Economista, Villalobos said that there were currently 7 to 9 million agricultural laborers in the country, which wasn't enough to satisfy the agricultural sector's demand for labor.
According to the federal official, there is a high demand for strawberries, berries, table grapes, and asparagus, among other products, in the national and international markets. These fruits and vegetables are currently mainly grown in the country's central and northern states. As a result, every year agricultural laborers from the southern states, mostly from Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Guerrero, travel to work in the plantations of Sonora, Sinaloa, San Luis Potosi, and Guanajuato.
This workforce is very important to farmers; the success of large investments in highly specialized greenhouses, for example of blueberries, which require more than one million dollars in investments per hectare, depends on the workers' availability.
However, the sector could soon need to import its workforce from abroad because the country's federal government has deployed a series of public policies aimed at supporting laborers in their communities of origin, through the implementation of tropical crop programs that generate employment for the local workforce.
"We have been taking steps to establish companies in the south that generate development chains there so that workers don't have to move from the south to the north," he said.