At the end of this year, Jalisco will begin exporting berries to China, after Chinese officials visited a total of nine orchards and three packing plants of red fruits in the state and Michoacán in March.
The head of Jalisco's Ministry of Rural Development (Seder), Hector Padilla, said the local government reached trade agreements with China. The agreement implies that Jalisco would start exporting blackberries and raspberries to the Asian country by the end of 2014 and blueberries by 2015.
After inspecting the production centres, the officials of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People's Republic of China were satisfied with the Mexican berry production system.
Additionally, Jalisco is considered a power in the production of blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry and strawberry.
According to Mario Steta, secretary of the National Association of Berries Exporters (Aneberries), annual exports of strawberries produced in Mexico amount to U.S. $900 million, and the United States and Canada are their major markets, with 90% of the total foreign trade, while the remainder is sent to Europe and Japan.
Until 2013, there were 2,000 hectares of berries in the state and, according to Aneberries the production will be doubled in 2014.
According to the head of the Seder, the global demand for berries is growing as a result of an increase in consumption by the developed countries because of the fruits' nutritional qualities.
After pointing out that the berry production generated 20,000 direct jobs in Jalisco, the official stressed that these productions were generating intensive labour because they generated high returns on small areas and developed regional economies.
According to the state agency, strawberries have a high profitability and generate a rapid return on investment, on average in the second year. They also generate intensive labour, i.e. some 900 jobs per hectare.
"Jalisco has the ideal physical features, climate and geographical conditions to produce berries. We can get blueberries in the few months of the year in which Canada and the United States have no production."
15 companies devoted to the export of the fruits from Jalisco, Michoacán, Baja California and Colima integrate Aneberries. According to the association, the annual output of strawberries amounts to 465,000 tons and the sector generates 100,000 direct jobs per season.
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