Broccoli Current Status in Mexico and the United States

Both Mexico and the United States are positioned as world leaders in broccoli production, having the United States in 3rd place, only behind China and India, and Mexico in 5th place, after Spain.

This crop represents a great economic importance for both countries, not only domestically but also because of the relationship that exists between them. The United States, even with a large production, cannot satisfy its national demand due to the large consumption of this product and a recent decrease in its own production, so it depends on Mexico to get a large part of the product it needs.

Broccoli Production in Mexico

In Mexico, broccoli production has grown considerably over the last decade, from 357,080 tonnes in 2011 to 596,389 tonnes in 2021, a 67.0% increase. The historical maximum production was in 2018 with 631,512 tonnes, so in the last three years production has declined slightly.

Harvested area went along with production as it also decreased in the last 3 years, going from 35,838 ha in 2018 to 34,191 ha in 2021. Despite this, the average annual yield has presented slight variations during this period.

In terms of broccoli producing regions in Mexico, Guanajuato is the main producing state, obtaining 387,796 tonnes in 2021, or 65% of the total national production, leaving far behind Puebla (7.7%), Sonora (5.5%), Michoacán (4.9%) and Jalisco (3.9%), states that occupy the next four positions.

Importance of Guanajuato

The state of Guanajuato not only has the largest broccoli production volume in Mexico, but also obtained the largest harvested area of this product in 2021 (22,913 ha) and a 2,548 million pesos production value, thus representing a share of 67.0% and 63.6%, respectively.

It is worth mentioning that the four municipalities with the highest broccoli production in Mexico are from Guanajuato, the main one being Dolores Hidalgo, which obtained 50,296 tonnes in 2021.

On the other hand, production in Guanajuato is due to its advantageous location and climate, in addition to the fact that the state has become a leader in broccoli exports in Mexico, an activity that has boosted agribusinesses in the state, making them more competitive, and which in turn has led to a gradual increase in production in the state. 

In addition, the state has the Guanajuato Inland Port, which allows the reception and shipment of goods both by land and air, making it a strategic point for trade and export of products.

Broccoli Production in the United States

The U.S. broccoli production has decreased by 32.3% in the last five years, going from 20,384,000 cwt (1,035,555 tonnes) in 2017 to 13,797,000 cwt (700,920 tonnes) in 2021, which derived from a 17.8% loss in harvested area during this period. Meanwhile, the value of production has varied, but with a downward trend, standing at US$719 million in 2021.

In terms of producing regions, California is the leading producing state with 12,285,000 cwt (624,107 tonnes) in 2021, which accounted for 89.0% of the total volume produced. In second position is Arizona with 1,512,000 cwt (76,813 tonnes), or the remaining 11.0%.

Domestic production was mainly affected by the constant decrease in the volume produced by California throughout these last 5 years, going from 19,040,000 cwt (967,277 tonnes) in 2017 to 12,285,000 cwt (624,107 tonnes) in 2021, a 35.5% decrease.

In contrast, during this same period Arizona has raised its production by 12.5% and its harvested area by 16.7%, however, these increases have not been enough to offset the large losses in California.

Importance of California

California is the most important state in the national broccoli industry, accounting for 91.3% in terms of domestic production and 87.8% of the total production value, with Monterey County as the most relevant region.

The state of California became more and more relevant for broccoli cultivation over time by gradually increasing its growing area from 1925, the year in which it is recorded as the beginning of this crop in the state, until the 2000s, when it began to stabilize.

However, its production has decreased too much in recent years, mainly due to the scarcity of water in the state, which has meant an increase in temperatures. This poses a high risk for the country’s broccoli supply, since with the loss of production in California and the low volume in Arizona, the U.S. is less and less able to meet the demand with domestic production, which means investing resources to import from other countries.

United States vs Mexico

Until 5 years ago, broccoli production in Mexico was almost half of that in the U.S. Now, Mexico produces only 14.9% less than the United States. Although the U.S. is far ahead of Mexico in terms of production value, its current situation continues to affect its production and therefore its current economy.

In response, in recent years, the United States has increased its broccoli imports, with Mexico as its main supplier. Therefore, it is not surprising that during the first quarter of 2022 imports of Mexican broccoli grew 23.3%.

Therefore, if this trend continues, it is likely that in the following years Mexico will surpass the United States in broccoli production, which would also mean an increase in Mexican broccoli shipments to its neighboring country, as there will be a greater demand for this product in the U.S. market and a greater availability on the Mexican side.

Sources: FAO-FAOSTAT, SADER-SIAP, USDA-NASS, SCIELO y CDFA/UCDAVIS

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