Project title: Enabling Mexican fresh produce export to Europe
Project number: SMP-2003
Requesting country: Mexico
Budget: € 40,000
Project leader: Eelke Westra
Knowledge institute: Wageningen University & Research
Project partners: Netherlands Embassy in Mexico, UPM, Aktion Trade, VDH Logistics
The essence of this project is to establish a sustainable fresh food supply chain between Mexico and Europe, current challenges are in land infrastructure and product quality control in long supply chains. Mexico has a large production capacity of fresh produce (tomato, peppers, citrus, avocado, bananas and mangoes). The export of produce mainly depends on the USA, as this is a geographically close market. In order to reduce its dependency on the US market in the current economic-political climate in the US, Mexico is investing in diversifying its export markets. The European market is one of the markets where Mexico could diversify, especially with tropical fruit products in which it has a competitive edge, such as mango, avocado and limes. Having access to a wider variety of (profitable) markets for such products which are often produced by poor smallholder farmers, decreases their dependency on one particular market, boosts economic development and reduces poverty in rural areas. Moreover, by taking a leading role in setting up this export chain to Europe, the Netherlands will strengthen its role as agri-food hub and consolidate its position as gateway to Europe for Latin American agro-products.
The current export market for Mexican agro-products is typically designed for relative short supply chains to the US markets. The challenge in setting up the fresh food supply chain to Europe is preservation of product quality, as the time between harvest and consumer is substantially longer than in the existing supply chains to the US market. There are ongoing initiatives of farmers associations and the industry, such as the one led by United Producers of Mexico, to set up a direct sea freight line between Mexico and Northern Europe, which would potentially reduce shipping time between Mexico and the Netherlands by half. However, a holistic supply chain approach is required to guarantee both product safety and quality. This Seed Money Project focuses on establishing a sustainable fresh product supply chain, with special focus on post-harvest management, enabling exports to Europe.
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