Agricultural firms are set to invest US $1.5 billion this year in modernization and development, says the president of the National Agricultural Council (CNA).
In an interview with the newspaper Milenio, Bosco de la Vega Valladolid said the investment would focus on boosting protected farming, such as greenhouses, pressurized irrigation systems, revamping of storage facilities and logistics and certification strategies.
De la Vega said the boom being experienced by the industry — with exports worth almost US $30 billion a year — has attracted entrepreneurs from other industries who are eager to capitalize on it.
Commenting on international trade issues, he said it was more important than ever to complete a favorable renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) given the failure of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).
“We want a good NAFTA, as well as having options in other markets, but if the U.S. imposes tariffs on Mexican products, [Mexico] has to do the same,” said de la Vega, giving corn as an example: “. . . if we have to pay tariffs on it, it would be more expensive than bringing it from South America.”
The CNA president stressed that Mexico must diversify its exports toward the Asian market. A nation such as South Korea, for example, imports $29 billion worth of produce, of which only $900 million comes from Mexico.
That figure could easily be doubled in a couple of years, he continued, with an adequate strategy, fewer tariffs or even by signing a free trade agreement with that nation.
The CNA’s goal is to maintain the sector’s double-digit annual growth, a target that can be reached if Mexico can develop new markets, de la Vega said.
The CNA is urging the federal government in general and the Agriculture Secretariat (Sagarpa) in particular to abstain from using Mexico’s “very successful” agricultural sector as a bargaining chip in the renegotiation of NAFTA.
Source: Milenio (sp)