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Drought in California boosts demand for Mexican products

Staff writer |
The drought in its fourth consecutive year in California, which could cause losses of more than $3 billion, has entailed an opportunity for Mexican producers and exporters, according to the University of California.

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More than 80% of farm workers in California are estimated to be Mexican nationals.
At the end of the first two months of 2015, fruit exports grew by 38%, reaching 221.5 million dollars; up from the 160.8 million reported in the same period of 2011.

According to experts, this is a great opportunity for Mexican producers, taking into account that California produces half of the fruits and vegetables in the United States, as well as 99% of the nuts consumed in the country. It also harvests 40% of the onions that are purchased nationally.

This situation has allowed Mexico to maintain a surplus in its trade balance with the U.S. in the field of food and agricultural goods, registering an accumulated value during the first two months of 331 million dollars, according to figures from the Bank of Mexico.

Thus, the trade balance has gone from a deficit of $ 99 million in the period between January and February 2014 to a surplus of 331 million in the same period of 2015.

Mexico currently holds an important position as an exporter of agricultural products and has become the main supplier of fruits and vegetables to the United States. This has mostly benefited states like Sinaloa, which exports vegetables; Michoacan, which ships avocados, and Veracruz, which exports coffee and various fruits.

While California is not the largest consumer of Mexican products, it is the state from which the products are distributed across the United States.

According to data from the Department of Agriculture and Food of California, 17,000 jobs have been lost to date in the state as a result of drought and more than 400,000 hectares have been abandoned by growers.

While this entails a great opportunity for Mexican producers, since demand for food products is rising, experts also acknowledge that the situation could be risky for farm workers in California, with more than 80% of them estimated to be Mexican nationals.

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