Mexican berry growers have reportedly seen a sharp drop in sales over recent days due to heavy delays at the U.S. border, while mango producers have also been affected.
Producers of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries have on average experienced a 20% drop in sales as the extended wait times crossing into the U.S. have resulted in reduced shelf life for the fruit once it arrives in the destination, according to local media Jornada.
The publication said the figure was according to Héctor Uraga Peralta, president of the Baja California Agricultural Council (CABC) and Juan Carlos Anaya, director of the Agricultural Cargo Advisory Group (GCMA).
A couple of weeks ago the U.S. Government announced it was pulling 750 border agents from their normal assignments at specific ports of entry on the border, and reassigning them to help process the surge in migrants who have been crossing the border illegally and seeking asylum.
This has caused extensive delays at numerous ports of entry on the U.S.’s southern border.
“It is now the season for berries and some vegetables, and we have felt some impacts,” said Uraga. “The berries are the most sensitive product and if they are in the truck for too long that diminishes their shelf life in U.S. stores or retailers.
“They have also been returning two in every 10 trucks, on average, which is to that say that 20% has been affected because when the cargo arrives it has almost gone bad.”
The articles reported that Mexican berry exports to the U.S. have grown dramatically over recent years, and in the first two months of 2019 they displaced tequila to take the number-five spot of agro-food exports north of the border.
Enrique González Muñoz of the National Trucking Chamber (Canacar) said that Cuidad Juárez has been one of the most challenging places to bring produce across the border, with delays of up to 10 hours – five times longer than normal.
Local media also reports that mango growers in Oaxaca are facing multimillion dollar losses over the delays, with at least one truck of Ataulfo mangoes returned as the quality had deteriorated too much from such a long wait at the border.