Mexico reduces U.S. berry export forecast due to pandemic
Mexico has reduced its berry export forecast to its leading market this year due to the pandemic, but is still expecting an increase over 2019, local media reports.
Jose Luis Bustamante Fernandez, the president of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Exporters of Berries (Aneberries), said the country had forecasted a double-digit rise in exports to North America.
But in light of the pandemic, he now expects Mexico to see a 5% year-on-year rise in berry exports.
The industry currently has more than 47,000 hectares of crops in 22 states and it exports more than 400,000 metric tons (MT) each year, a figure that represents the entry of US$2.5bn to the country, Bustamante said.
However, 97.5% of exports are concentrated in the United States and Canada, so the challenge for the sector is to diversify into other markets, mainly in Asia and the Middle East.
Bustamante also said that the main challenges to gain a foothold of these markets were logistics and commercial relationships.
"These exports must be sent by air, especially raspberry and blackberry, and the pandemic has interrupted intercontinental flights," he said.
"This represents a logistical challenge, which is the first that we have to face, with charter flights. In addition, we have to find good business partners that will buy our product throughout the whole year, as making one shipment doesn't mean you've won the market."