Florida Ag Losing to Mexico - Ag Commissioner
Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner says unfair trade practices are costing Florida growers nearly 4 billion dollars a year.
Commissioner Nikki Fried released a study conducted by the Department of Ag and Consumer Services which shows Mexican imports result in 10-20% lost sales annually for Florida producers. That equates to between 17 thousand, to over 35 thousand lost jobs in the state.
Fried, outlined data that shows the disparity of market shares between Mexico and Florida’s vegetable and specialty crop farmers.
FRIED: “While Florida saw its bell peppers market share drop by nearly 75% between 2000 and 2020, Mexico’s gained by 95% during the same window. Florida tomatoes were down 52% while Mexico’s were 102%. Mexicos’ strawberry and blueberry share gains were even more dramatic, both increasing by 266%. Florida’s strawberries lost 30% and blueberries nearly 58%.”
The Mexican government heavily subsidizes its fruit and vegetable industry.
Nearly 95% of the protected acreage is for fruits and vegetables. Fried says that allows Mexican farmers to produce crops with higher yields, better quality, improved market access, higher prices, better pest control, and reduced risk.
Wages differences are also striking. What Florida growers pay their workers in an hour, Mexico can pay in a day.
Fried says Florida farmers need the federal government’s help to level the playing field. She has thrown her support behind The Defending Domestic Produce Production Act, legislation that would allow seasonal agriculture producers to ask federal regulators to investigate unfair foreign trade and seek relief.
She also called on consumers to buy only locally grown produce.