Berry acreage in Mexico has tripled over the past decade as acreage devoted to the national staple shrinks

Berries have had a remarkable boom in Mexico over the past decade. According to the National Association of Berry Exporters (Aneberries), its cultivation has grown from virtually nothing in the early 2000s to 17,000 hectares in 2011 and tripled to 55,000 hectares by the end of 2021. However, this expansion is not exempt of criticism related to different problems, such as the decrease in the area devoted to corn, a vital staple food for Mexico.

According to official data from the federal government, over the past decade the area dedicated to maize cultivation has fallen from 7.7 million hectares to 7.2 million. Even though the area of ​​land for corn is several times greater than that for berries, Mexico does not produce enough corn to meet domestic demand.

In addition, the country imports 37% of the corn it consumes nationally (about 17 million tonnes) because, according to specialists, there is no longer enough land to increase cereal production. In 2021 alone, according to data from the Bank of Mexico, the country shelled out $5,146 million in corn imports to meet domestic demand, the highest amount in history.

A matter of profitability
The growth of berry crops in Mexico is not surprising considering the profitability of these crops. For example, a recent study by the Autonomous University of Chapingo shows that the cost-benefit ratio, which determines the viability of a productive project, amounts to 2.82 for blueberries, 1.88 for raspberries, 1 .82 for strawberries and 1.76 for blackberries.

The cost-benefit ratio of sugar cane and maize, two staple crops, is only 1.5 and 1.2 respectively. In fact, the profitability of berries is similar and even higher than that of other crops that have a high export rate, such as avocado, which has an index of 1.84.

Behind the high profitability of these berries hides the notable increase in their price due to strong demand, especially from the United States and certain groups with high purchasing power in Mexico.


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