Florida versus Mexican Agriculture
September 13, 2021
Imports of Mexican fruits and vegetables (blue) peak in May, as Florida production (red) is declining
Commodities. Florida has been losing market share to Mexican imports in bell peppers, blueberries, tomatoes, and strawberries. For example, Florida in 2000 provided 46 percent of the bell peppers consumed in the US between November and June; by 2020, the Florida share of a larger bell pepper market was 12 percent.
Florida’s share of winter-spring bell peppers fell from 46% in 2000 to 12% in 2020
Florida’s share of US round tomatoes between November and June fell from 63 percent in 2000 to 30 percent in 2020. The volume of mature-green round tomatoes consumed shrank over this period as consumers gravitated to cherry and other vine-ripened tomatoes.
Florida’s share of the shrinking market for open-field round tomatoes fell from 63% to 30% between 2000 and 2020
In recent years, Mexican imports of round tomatoes surpassed Florida production in each month of the year
The volume of strawberries consumed between November and March more than doubled between 2000 and 2020, with most of the increase due to imports from Mexico as production shrank in both Southern California and Florida.
Florida’s share of November through March strawberries fell from 46% to 32% between 2000 and 2020
The March through May blueberry market increased more than 20-fold between 2000 and 2020, but Florida’s share of this expanding market fell from 33 percent to 12 percent, while Mexico’s share rose from zero to 35 percent. Florida’s production of blueberries rose from two million to 17 million pounds because the market for blueberries expanded enormously.
Florida’s share of the rapidly expanding spring blueberry market fell even as Florida’s production increased more than eight-fold
Florida’s cash receipts from specialty crop fruits and vegetables peaked in 2007 at $3.9 billion and fell to $2.9 billion in 2020. The value of Mexican fruit and vegetable imports rose steadily, from $2 billion in 2000 to almost $16 billion in 2020.
Florida F&V sales were $3 billion to $4 billion a year between 2000 and 2020, while the value of Mexican imports rose from $2 billion to $16 billion
Logistics. Florida is closer to East Coast consumers than Mexico. For many commodities, Florida has higher production and lower shipping costs. Florida growers complain that Mexican exporters have lower production costs so that, despite higher shipping costs, their commodities are cheaper in US markets.
Most Mexican fruit and vegetable imports enter the US in Otay Mesa, Nogales, or Pharr