MEXICO CITY – The first shipment of 39 tons of Mexican bananas to China departed on Tuesday from the port of Manzanillo, a debut that the Mexican government hopes to be able to repeat with other products now that the door has opened a little wider to the Asian giant’s huge market.
“We’re signing the protocol for the exportation of blackberries in December. Possibly, I’ll travel there in February because the intention is to sign the protocol for the exportation of sorghum. And I’ve been insisting a lot on exporting bovine, pork and chicken offal,” Agriculture Secretary Victor Villalobos said on Thursday.
Villalobos, in remarks to the Formula Financiera program, acknowledged that the timing will be established by Chinese authorities, but he said that the sorghum export agreement is “very far along” and that the most probable result is that “it will be signed in February.”
The Mexican banana export protocol was signed in May 2019 but that the first fruit was not shipped to China until Tuesday of this week.
“The idea is that we can export sorghum from Tamaulipas and Sinaloa. (Chinese officials) already came here to inspect our quality,” said the head of the Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat (Sader).
Regarding the export of offal, Villalobos said that the proper investigation would be made to achieve an agreement to guarantee the “formalization” of exports to China of those products.
While awaiting the crystallization of these agreements, Villalobos also provided some new information about the sale of bananas to the Asian nation, saying that Mexican producers at present can export about 600,000 tons of bananas per year valued at approximately $280 million, and that quantity will increase in the future.
“I calculate that we would get to production of 700,000 or 800,000 tons,” said Villalobos regarding his expectations for next year, and the value of those exports would be between “$450-470 million.”
Mexican agricultural exports hit $34.619 billion in the first 11 months of 2019, an 8.61 percent increase over the same period the year before, Sader figures show.
Despite that, according to a report by the De la Calle, Madrazo, Mancera consulting firm, Mexico is only China’s 31st-largest trading partner with a 0.6 percent market share.