In recent years, the emergence of Mexico as one of the largest produce powerhouses for the United States has left border cities with the challenge of keeping up with traffic and demand. Businesses continue to adjust to the increasing demand of fresh and frozen produce by finding new ways to transport and store goods.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, exports from Mexico in the fresh produce industry grew during the first five months of 2012 compared to the same time period in 2010. In 2011, the USDA reported that more than $6 billion worth of fresh and frozen produce was exported from Mexico. The United State’s southern neighbor supplies nearly half of all fruits and vegetables that come into the country. In order to keep up with America’s insatiable appetite for fresh produce, Texas growers have moved crops to Mexican states for seasonal produce that would normally not grow on U.S. soil.
Companies like Progreso Produce made the wise decision to expand production to Mexico long ago. Now, 60 to 70 percent of their fresh produce grows in foreign lands. “Mexico can produce when the U.S. cannot,” said Curtis DeBerry, president of Progreso Produce. “Consumers want the freshest produce they can get year-round. It’s supposed to be there every day of the year.”
Pharr Mayor Leo Palacios Jr. has witnessed the expansion of exports and imports in the fresh produce industry. In a statement the Mayor announced his surprise at the growth and success of the Rio Grande Valley and is grateful for it. Hundreds of employment opportunities have been added to the economy to satisfy an increase in transportation companies, cold storage providers warehouse distribution facilities and customs brokers.
The development of the Pharr International Bridge has also helped the economy thrive tremendously. In the past, Arizona ports were the hot spots for international trade from the south. Recently, the Texas Produce Association claimed that the new ports of entry throughout Texas are taking the lead. South Texas is a prime location and is succeeding as a trade zone hub. Data released by the USDA in 2011 found that 3.8 million pounds moved through Texas from Mexico, 170 million more pounds than Arizona. This does not necessarily mean that one state is taking business from the other. Simply, both border areas are finding the best solutions to cope with increased traffic and demand.
For more information regarding opportunities in the fresh produce sector in South Texas or how your company can benefit from an ever-growing international trade zone, contact the Pharr EDC at 956.702.5335.