Mexico City - Mexican food exports are key to the future of the country, according to the country's top agriculture official.
José Calzada heads SAGARPA, which is the national secretariat for agriculture, ranching, rural development, fish & nutrition. In late April, Calzada sat for an hour with The Produce News in his office to discuss the bright future that is emerging for his nation's food industry.
In U.S. dollars, "We had $26.6 billion in agricultural exports to the world last year," he said. "Of that amount, $22.9 billion were sales to the U.S. market. We export $60 million a day to the United States. The U.S. market is huge."
In 2015, according to SAGARPA figures, the United States received 80.1 percent of Mexican agri-food and fisheries exports.
Canada ranks second to the U.S. market, receiving $1.5 billion a year from Mexico. The European Union is 3rd and Japan has become the fourth-largest importer of Mexican agricultural products.
"Now, the amount of resources we get from Mexican ag products is bigger than oil or tourism," he said. "Agriculture is not only an important part of Mexican exports but is strong and growing. We continue to invest in technology and the mechanization of Mexican land. We are moving from traditional agriculture to a lot more mechanization and technological ways of producing. That makes a difference in value."
Previously, Mexico's department of agriculture spent a large part of its budget to support "very traditional" agriculture. "Now most of the budget goes to support technology. We support greenhouse construction to access better infrastructure."Read more at TheProduceNews.com.