FPAA's 48th Nogales Produce Convention Releases 2015-16 Nogales Produce Import Report
- by Jordan Okumura
NOGALES, AZ – On the occasion of the 48th Nogales Produce Convention, held November 3rd through 5th, the Fresh Produce Association of America released the 2015-16 Nogales Produce Import Report.
The report addresses the impact that fresh produce imported through Nogales has in the overall trade of fruits and vegetables in the U.S. A five year comparison and listing of items that are highest in volume and value were key features of the report, according to a press release.
Last season, these imports represented roughly 17% of U.S. global imports, a total of 6.3 billion pounds of product, and lack of water and labor in the western U.S. is projected to perpetuate this shift in volume to Mexico.
The FPAA Produce Convention program included a panel of Importers. The panel was moderated by Lance Jungmeyer, President of FPAA, and included:
- Chris Ciruli, COO, Ciruli Bros. Inc.
- Fried DeSchouwer, President, Greenhouse Produce Co.
- Rod Sbragia, Director of Sales and Marketing, Tricar Sales Inc.
- Mikee Suarez, Sales, MAS Melons & Grapes
Among the topics discussed, was growth in important produce categories such as tomatoes. “Tomatoes have started a new growth phase, separating themselves from watermelons, the No. 2 item in Nogales. This is reflective of the continued growth in romas, and persisting strong demand for round reds,” said Jungmeyer
Growth in the grape category was discussed as well, with companies adding several early-growing varieties to increase yield and overall performance.
“A few years ago we had only three or four white, or green, varieties of grapes with any volume in Mexico. Now, we see 10 or more varietals being grown, with interesting and new flavor profiles,” said panelist Mikee Suarez of MAS Melons and Grapes. “These grapes also fill a great gap at the beginning of the Mexican grape season, when Chilean white grapes are leaving the market.”
Innovative ideas like these have done away with the idea that the Nogales produce deal peaks in volume from January through April.
Additionally, a clear trend of improvements to logistics and infrastructure at the Southwest border will almost undoubtedly facilitate greater product flows through Nogales. A new Unified Cargo Inspection Program in Nogales, for example is bringing Mexican Customs officers to the U.S. side of the border to better conduct inspections. Companies with proper security clearances can take advantage of this program and reduce their product’s crossing times from 4-6 hours to less than an hour.
“This new Customs program has the chance to elevate the Nogales deal with improved delivery times from the farm to the warehouse, and better use of trucking capacity to move even more fresh produce,” Jungmeyer said.
A complete copy of the report can be read here.
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