A shipment of Mexican bananas is on its way to China for the first time ever.
Thirty-nine tonnes of the fruit grown by producers in Teapa, Tabasco, and Mazatán, Chiapas, left the port in Manzanillo, Colima, on Tuesday bound for the world’s second largest economy, where consumers have already developed a taste for Mexican avocados and tequila.
At a ceremony to celebrate the departure, federal Agriculture Secretary Víctor Villalobos Arámbula said the opening of the Chinese market to Mexican bananas was the result of the work done by producers to ensure that they meet the necessary phytosanitary, or plant health, requirements.
Villalobos and a Chinese official signed a bilateral phytosanitary agreement in Beijing in May last year, paving the way for the export of Mexican bananas to the east Asian nation.
The agriculture secretary said on Tuesday that the government will continue to support producers, especially small-lot farmers, so that more can meet the strict import standards for countries such as China.
The Secretariat of Agriculture (Sader), through the National Agrofood Health, Safety and Quality Service (Senasica), will also oversee compliance with standards to ensure that export volumes increase, Villalobos said.
For his part, Senasica chief Francisco Javier Trujillo said that all Mexican banana plantations that will export to China in an initial phase have been certified as being free of pests and having sound agricultural practices.
A Sader certificate will accompany each shipment of bananas to serve as evidence of compliance with the agricultural conditions to which Mexico and China agreed, he explained.
Adrián Prats, president of the National Banana Product System Committee, said that producers will aim to increase their exports without neglecting the domestic market.
Mexico is the world’s 12th largest banana producer, according to the growers’ association, with annual yields of 2.7 million tonnes. About 30% of production is exported to 43 different countries, generating US $270 million in revenue.
The United States was the biggest buyer of Mexican bananas in 2018 followed by Japan and the Netherlands.
Source: El Financiero (sp)