In this installment of the ‘Agronometrics In Charts’ series, Sarah Ilyas studies the state of the Mexican strawberry season. 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.
Mexico is the third supplier of strawberries in the international market and represents almost 15 percent of the export value worldwide. Incremental gains in incoming volumes of Mexican strawberries have been recorded over the course of the last two decades in the US. This August, heavy rains ravaged over 400 hectares cultivated with strawberries in Guanajuato. Irapuato was the most affected municipality, with nearly 200 hectares impacted by the torrential rains. Crop losses were also recorded in Pénjamo, Abasolo, Dolores Hidalgo, and Acámbaro.
Between July and August, the supply of Mexican strawberries in the US market was 70% lower compared to the previous season. Despite the torrential rains, production in major producing areas such as Jalisco was mostly unaffected.
Pricing last season fluctuated between $24 per package (in week 46 of 2021) and $8.13 per package (in week 10 of 2022).
Central Mexico is the primary strawberry production area in Mexico, it produces mainly in the winter and has the same production window as Florida. These shipments also compete with California’s early season production. Strawberry exports from Mexico to the US mainly cover production gaps in the latter, which usually occur in the winter and early spring.
Strawberries require considerable capital investments for their cultivation but hold great agricultural potential owing to their high profitability and rapid returns on investment. Mexico inherently holds a competitive edge in the agricultural realm owing to its conducive climate, use of nouveau strawberry varieties, protected cultivation in macro-tunnels, and low cost of labor; these factors have allowed Mexican producers to become strong competitors in the international strawberry market. The country’s productive potential has encouraged its government to promote the modernization of berries with techniques such as the incorporation of drip irrigation, the construction of greenhouses and the adoption of protected agriculture.
Written by: Sarah Ilyas