White corn: more going to China. White maize: more going to China.

Food exports to China will double in 2016

Agriculture Secretary is bullish about trade prospects

Food exports to China have been seeing big increases but bigger ones are expected: after his recent visit to China, the Agriculture Secretary forecast that those exports will double in 2016.

José Calzada’s projection is consistent with the trend observed this year in which, on average, exports were up 25%. One product that recorded an impressive increase was avocados, which were up 200%.

During Calzada’s visit, Chinese officials authorized Mexican imports of tobacco and dairy products, and began the authorization processes for horse meat, blueberries, sorghum, bananas and Jalisco avocados. (Michoacán avocados are the only variety currently approved.)

An allocation of at least 1.5 million tonnes of white maize, of which Mexico has a surplus, has also been allowed. The approval will benefit thousands of small producers, particularly from the north of the country, the secretary said, observing that Mexico could be ready to export the first 60,000 tonnes as soon as January.

This boom in trade between the two countries has spurred the opening of a new cargo air route between Guadalajara and Zhengzhou via Chicago. Zhengzhou, in the central province of Henan, is a major food and raw materials distribution hub.

The new route will be operated by the Luxembourg cargo carrier Cargolux Airlines with up to three flights a week, each with a carrying capacity of 120 tonnes.

Such a route is needed for delicate and more valuable products, such as blueberries, which have a shorter shelf life than avocados, Calzada said.

“I have no doubt that in the medium term China will become a great market for Mexican exports. This is just the beginning, and the growth projections are huge,” he said.

Mexico currently sells US $150 million worth of food to China each year, just a fraction of total food exports of $28 billion.

Source: Sin Embargo (sp)

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