Protected vegetable deals extend Mexico's reach

09/16/2011 01:14:00 PM
Dan Gailbraith

“No. 4 is having better tools like technology that enables you to produce more. Then, you start growing varieties that have greater yields. In general terms, it would be just plain and simple getting better at it and getting more experience, and that takes time.”

The effect of a year-round deal on the market is hard to gauge, said Chuck Ciruli, partner with Nogales, Ariz.-based Ciruli Bros.

“You’ve taken it and stretched out the deal to different areas for the north and Mexico and even further south,” he said.

“You’ve stretched out where a lot of the stuff is coming to Texas now, so it’s putting Texas in play. It’s making Mexico more of a player, but you have a year like last year where you had this really hard freeze that even froze some stuff inside the protected agriculture. I think people are promoting it more.”

The industry is embracing all of Mexico’s climates and employing various modes of protected agriculture, said Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Nogales-based Fresh Produce Association of the Americas.

“Growers are beginning to use more greenhouse and shade house in west Mexico, but also central Mexico and other regions, you’re starting to see this trend expand out to other areas because of support from the Mexican government,” he said.

“Because Mexico has so many microclimates, you’re seeing a big extension of the season. Really, already, Mexico has production on a year-round basis, at least on mature seasonal factor.”

U.S. markets see more volume in tomatoes, bell peppers and cucumbers from Mexico today than before, Jungmeyer said.

“In the future I think you’ll probably see people trying new items,” he said.


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