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The Partnership no. 18

Markets Powering through

Markets Powering through the industry Enza Zaden Mexico continues to grow alongside country’s horticulture expansion Imagine a country almost as big as the European Union, stretching from Russia to Portugal and from Latvia to Tunisia. Imagine this country with a geography and climate similar to Spain, nestled between two bodies of water and two countries, one of which possess over 15 trillion USD in purchasing power and has over 320 million inhabitants. This is how big Mexico is and how it relates to its most important customer: the United States. The North America Free trade agreements and the increasing consumption of vegetables in the US market are the main drivers of the Mexican produce industry growth in the past years; it is clear that Mexico has risen to the challenge of providing a consistent supply of high quality, tasty produce to its biggest consumer, year round. Solid agriculture industry Among the products Mexico exports: cucumbers, sweet peppers, hot peppers, tomatoes, avocadoes, berries, tequila and beer. Up to 50 % of fresh tomato consumption in the US comes from fields and greenhouses established in Mexico, that has an export value of over ,000 million dollars and nearly 4 million metric tons. “We have the infrastructure, the territorial space and expertise that at this moment cannot be compared with,” comments Juan Labastida, Marketing Specialist at Enza Zaden México. “The professionalization and adoption of technology that the Mexican producer has gone through in the past two decades gives the country an incredible competitive advantage in North America. This results in the possibility to compete worldwide.” Mexico’s differential advantage Mexico is not only expansive, but it also has a variety of climates and topographies that allows it to be a year round provider of a wide variety of vegetables and fresh fruits. Vegetable varieties need to take into account the microclimate characteristics of the target growing regions within the country. For example, the northern part of Mexico is more desert-like: dry and hot – perfect for growing peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers in shade houses carrying over 4,000 annual hectares. Larger growers are capable to move from one region to another in order to diversify their year round offerings, can take advantage of the country’s geography to do just that. Antonio de Sainz, General Manager at Enza Zaden México explains: “Production in the Northern states is halted during the summer months when temperatures are too hot, and relocated to more compact, cooler regions in the centre of the country.” According to De Sainz, it is relatively easy to expand throughout the different Mexican regions, as long as water availability is taken into account, alongside with vegetable variety adaptability and the required technology investment. “Most of the growers producing for the export market understand that the technology they use in the North will not be the same technology they will need in Central Mexico. They know that if they move to Central Mexico to grow sweet peppers, they will need a different type of greenhouse. But technology starts with the seed,” Labastida explains. 8 | The Partnership The Partnership | 9

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