In this installment of the ‘Agronometrics In Charts’ series, Sarah Ilyas studies the state of the Mexican berry industry. Each week the series looks at a different horticultural commodity, focusing on a specific origin or topic visualizing the market factors that are driving change.
Berries are a highly profitable commodity in Mexico, as evidenced by their high benefit-cost relationships. The relationship determines the viability of a productive project and is pegged at a value of 2.82 for blueberries, 1.88 for raspberries, 1.82 for strawberries and 1.76 for blackberries. The profitability of berries is similar to that of other crops that have a high export index. A case in point is avocados, which have an index of 1.84. The Mexican berry sector looks likely to achieve a 12% increase in blueberry, raspberry, strawberry and blackberry exports for the 2022 season, with shipments primarily to the U.S. market. Berries are grown in 22 of the 32 states in Mexico with Michoacán, Jalisco, Guanajuato, Sinaloa and Baja California being the main producing areas. Strawberry volumes peaked at a total volume of 13 K tonnes this season while a total peak volume of 4.8 K tonnes was recorded for blueberries. Blackberry and Raspberry volumes culminated at 2.5 K tonnes and 3.4 K tonnes respectively.
Berries from Mexico in the US market | Volumes (Kg)
Around 95% of Mexican berry exports are directed to the U.S. market. According to data from Aneberries, the current planted area in Mexico for berries totals 55,000 hectares.
Mexico is the third largest producer of strawberries in the world, representing 9.7% of the total world strawberry production. Mexico and the US are the only North American countries that form part of the top 10 strawberry producers in the world, and have the highest yields worldwide at 56.3 and 52.4 tons per hectare, respectively. About 89.9% of Mexican strawberry exports go to the US. Strawberry exports from Mexico cover strawberry production gaps in the US market, which occur mainly in the winter and early spring. Mexican strawberry exports to the US peak during these seasons.
Raspberry exports have risen especially quickly from $180 million in 2011 to $1.1 billion in 2020. The National Association of Berry Exporters expects that in 2022, the total value of raspberry exports will exceed $3 billion.
According to official data, blueberry production in the 2015/2016 season went from 15.000 to 29.000 tons, in the 2017 campaign it reached 37.000 tons, and in 2018 it reached 40.000 tons, then it rose to 49.000 tons in 2019 and more of 50.000 tons in 2020 and is continuing to maintain the consistent upward trend.
Mexico sustains an edge in the US market owing to its proximity to the country and thus its ability to supply fresher produce. According to Juan José Flores García, managing director of the Mexican National Berry Export Association (Aneberries), growers in the country are expected to export more than 584,000 tonnes of soft fruit by the end of 2022, compared with 462,000 tons in 2021.
All pricing for domestic US produce represents the spot market at Shipping Point (i.e. packing house/climate controlled warehouse, etc.). For imported fruit, the pricing data represents the spot market at Port of Entry.
Written by: Sarah Ilyas