Mexican agro-exports resist the crisis

Published on 18 September 2020

The Mexican agricultural export portfolio has remained stable and even achieved positive results, despite the effect that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on foreign trade.

Being located right next to the United States is an unbeatable advantage for Mexico against possible competitors from the rest of the world. This has allowed them to establish some key products in the US market, such as avocados, tomatoes and berries.

Along this topic, the level of purchases has remained stable or even increased despite the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is evidence of a high demand for home consumption, which has managed to compensate for the reduction in the demand of restaurants, resulting from the restrictions. The products mentioned above are almost completely shipped to the United States, with a slight exception for avocados, 79% of which are sent to the northern neighbor.

On the other hand, the list of products that exceed US$ 100 million in annual exports is quite long, which shows a high diversification of the portfolio. This can be seen in the following table, which shows the value of shipments of Mexican agricultural and agro-industrial products to the rest of the world.

In general terms, although there are some falls, the results are stable and even positive in some cases. It is worth mentioning that these figures show the importance of maintaining the commercial relationship in North America, after the signing of the Mexico-United States-Canada treaty, which came into force this past July.

At a detailed level, the three main products, avocados, tomatoes and strawberries, have had mixed performances in terms of prices and values. The following graphs show how average prices have evolved for each case, as well as details of the destination markets for avocados, the only one not entirely dependent on the United States.

These figures show that shipments of avocados have increased and allowed to stabilize the value, despite the lower prices compared to the previous year. Meanwhile, the upturn in strawberries leads to hope that the trend will continue and contribute significantly to the rise in Mexican agricultural exports. On the same path, the recovery of tomatoes also brings similar expectations.

In this case, the positive impact of trade policy, the use of geographical advantages and the strategy of diversifying the export portfolio is noted. What happens next will depend on internal factors such as crop management and the commercial work of companies, as well as external factors such as the climate and the stabilization of the pandemic.

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