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About Migration Dialogue

Migration Dialogue provides timely, factual and nonpartisan information and analysis of international migration issues through five major activities: the newsletters Migration News and Rural Migration News, Changing Face and other Research & Seminars, and the Sloan West Coast Program on Science and Engineering Workers.

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Rural Migration Blog: US Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Imports

The US imports 60 percent of the fresh fruit and 40 percent of the fresh vegetables available to US residents. Mexico is the leading supplier of fresh fruit and vegetable imports.

The import share of US fresh fruits and vegetables has been rising

Imports as a share of U.S. fresh fruit and vegetable availability, 2007-21

Mexico. Mexico provided 64 percent of US vegetable imports and 46 percent of US fruit and nut imports in 2021. Mexico is the leading supplier of imported tomatoes, avocados, raspberries, bell peppers, and strawberries, many of which are produced under protected culture structures in greenhouses and plastic-covered tunnels rather than in open fields. Almost all Mexican horticultural exports, including 90 percent of Mexican fruit exports and 95 percent of vegetable exports, go to the US.

Mexico is the major foreign supplier of US fresh fruits and vegetables

There are several reasons for the upsurge in Mexican exports of horticultural commodities to the US, including free trade agreements such as NAFTA-USMCA and an improving infrastructure that can truck Mexican produce to the US quickly using the same highways that are used to transport goods made in Mexico, including autos and auto parts. Mexico’s farm labor costs are 10 to 20 percent of US farm labor costs, and Mexican farms that export fresh produce to the US have latecomer advantages, including producing fruits and vegetables under protective structures.

The real value of Mexican hort exports to the US quadrupled from less than $4 billion to almost $18 billion between 2000 and 2021

Mexican horticultural exports, 2000-21

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  • Rural Migration News

    Rural Migration News summarizes the most important migration-related issues affecting agricultural and rural America, and is produced with the support of the Colcom, Giannini, and Walmart foundations.

  • Rural Migration News Blogs

    Rural Migration News blogs examine a particular farm labor, migration, or trade issue, and are produced with the support of the Colcom, Giannini, and Walmart foundations.

  • Farm Labor and Mexican Produce Exports

    The US imports over half of its fresh fruit and a third of its fresh vegetables, mostly from Mexico. This project, led by the Wilson Center's Mexico Institute and supported by the Walmart foundations, strengthens protections for Mexican workers employed throughout North America agriculture and works with stakeholders to implement evidence-based policies that improve worker protections.

  • Migration News

    Migration News was a monthly and later quarterly summary of the most important migration issues in the US, Europe, and Asia that was produced between 1994 and 2014 with the support of the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

  • Sloan West Coast Program On S&E Workers

    The Sloan Program on Science and Engineering Workers supported researchers interested in how affected US workers employed in IT-related occupations between 2007 and 2014 with the support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

  • Changing Face & UFW Contracts

    The Changing Face project assessed the effects of immigrant farm workers on agriculture and agricultural communities in California and other states between 1994 and 2016 with the support of the Farm and Rosenberg Foundations.

  • Research & Seminars

    Migration Dialogue organized seminars for opinion leaders to discuss comparative migration issues between 1993 and 2004 with the support of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.