Fruit and vegetable production in Mexico has doubled since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into force in 1994.
“Mexico has climatic advantages that allow it to produce fruits and vegetables all year round and, thanks to the increase of demand from the United States, the sector invested in technology and greenhouses,” stated Juan Carlos Anaya, the director of the Agricultural Markets Consultative Group.
Mexico went from producing 19 million tons of fruits and vegetables per year in 1994 to 37 million tons last year.
The increase was reflected proportionally in the value of the sector. The first year in which the agreement came into operation, the production had a market value of 5.896 billion dollars and in 2017 it was 11.295 billion dollars.
The country exports almost 28 percent of what it produces and 80 percent of its shipments are sent to the United States.
The United States’ proposal to impose a time frame on Mexican exports has become one of the most pressing issues in the current NAFTA negotiations.
“Having a supplier that can provide fruit and vegetables all year round has been an advantage for American consumers, that’s why it has become so important,” Anaya said.
Canada has also been key for the sector’s growth. Mexico went from being Canada’s eighth provider of food in 1993 to the second, only behind the United States.
Mexico mainly exports avocado, tomato, berries, mango, and lemon. Jalisco, Michoacan, Veracruz, Sinaloa, and Sonora are the main producing entities.
According to a recent study from the FAO, in the last 20 years Mexico’s cultivation pattern has changed, which can be seen by the growth of the area planted with avocado, berries and agaves.