CongeladosAgo. 27, 2012
Frutillas/EE.UU: importación 2011 desde México alcanzó un total de231 millones de libras
For years Florida’s strawberry growers are worried about competition from California, fearing that it may find a way to encroach upon its exclusive market window, between late November and March.
However, the competitive threat that now faces the state’s growers comes not from California, but from Mexico.
“As long as I can remember, I heard about big, bad California,” said Andy McDonald, a third-generation strawberry grower in Plant City and president of the Dover-based Florida Strawberry Growers Association. “Now Mexico is staring us in the face.”
Florida is the US’s second largest strawberry grower, with 9,900 acres dedicated to strawberry cultivation. California, in comparison, has 38,000 acres.
Mexico has been growing its own cultivation and its growing period matches that f Florida.
“Mexico continues to expand acreage faster than we have,” said Ted Campbell, executive director of the Florida ¬Strawberry Growers Association in Dover. “They’re not backing off.”
Fresh strawberry imports from Mexico reached 187 million pounds in 2009 and 231 million pounds in 2011, the USDA reported. In just the first five months of this year, Mexican imports exceeded that 2011 total at 269 million pounds.
The resultant flood of fruit coming onto the market has had a negative effect on prices for growers, especially as Florida has also been over producing as a result of warmer winters.
Still, there are reasons for optimism. Strawberries continue to benefit from the positive buzz about the health benefits of all berries, Campbell said.
U.S. consumption of fresh strawberries increased from 1.7 pounds per person in 1970, when Florida had just 1,800 strawberry acres, to an estimated 7.3 pounds last year, USDA statistics show.
Publication date: 8/27/2012