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REEDLEY, Calif. - Leaders from the California Tree Fruit Agreement (CTFA) here, representing California peaches, plums and nectarines (PPN), are accompanying Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and California Agriculture Secretary A.G. Kawamura on this week's trade mission to Mexico.
While in Mexico, CTFA's Blair Richardson, president, and Gordon Smith, manager of international marketing programs team, will join other agricultural representatives in promoting California agriculture and addressing agricultural trade issues relating to market access and pest prevention. CTFA has worked on the issue of trade for a number of years in cooperation with the California Grape and Tree Fruit League and U.S. government trade representatives.
"We are participating in this event due to the importance of the Mexico market to our industry," said Richardson. "We also think it is important to support our governor in his endeavors to expand and enhance the opportunities for California agriculture."
Richardson said Mexico is important to the California tree fruit industry, not only because of the volume potential, but also due to the wide range of sizes and qualities demanded by consumers in this market.
Unlike some markets, such as Taiwan, where consumers want only large, perfect fruit, Mexican consumers are accustomed to the value of California tree fruit and there are specific market opportunities for all sizes and qualities. Mexico is in fact one of the best markets for smaller fruit.
"Most U.S. retail chains are hesitant to offer various size options to their consumers, but this is not the case in Mexico where a lot of fruit is still purchased at small produce stands or wholesale markets," said Richardson. "Even retail chains in Mexico recognize the value of offering options to their customers."
Additionally, trade volume potential and high consumer demand make Mexico an important market for the California PPN industry, and in the coming year, CTFA will allocate substantial resources to the marketing of tree fruit to consumers within the country.
"Our recent victory in the reduction of the quarantine pest list could likely result in a 1 million box increase to 2.5 million boxes to Mexico," said Smith. "We remain hopeful that additional barriers will be eliminated in time for the 2007 season."