Mexico dominates US tomato market

Mexico dominates the foreign supply of the US tomato market, according to data from the Department of Commerce.

In 2021, Mexico sent fresh and chilled tomatoes to its northern neighbor for a customs value of 2,387 million dollars, a figure practically similar to that of a year before.

This amount represented a coverage of 85.2% of total imports to the United States tomato market.

Behind Mexico was Canada, with shipments worth 377 million dollars, followed by the Dominican Republic (20 million) and Guatemala (17 million).

Worldwide, the United States is the largest importer of tomatoes, while Mexico is the largest exporter of this vegetable, with a high bilateral concentration of these flows.

Tomato market

Before, the trajectory of US tomato imports was as follows: in 2018 they totaled 2,060 million dollars, in 2019 they totaled 1,958 million, and in 2020 they were estimated at 2,381 million.

Sinaloa is the largest tomato producing state in Mexico, with fall/winter production only.

Production is mainly through open field cultivation, but protected farming methods are also increasingly used.

In particular, Sinaloa tomatoes are harvested and supplied to the US market during the winter months, generally from late December through May, crossing at the Nogales, Arizona port of entry.

Producers from Sinaloa are starting to produce in the states of Michoacán, Jalisco and Querétaro to obtain quality products and thus have access to the summer export window after the winter window ends in May.

Tomato production in the central Mexican states of San Luis Potosí, Michoacán, Zacatecas and Jalisco has seen an increase in recent years, using open field and protected farming methods.

On the other hand, supplies from the Midwest enter the US market in the summer months, after the Sinaloa export window ends in May, and pass through the Texas border ports of entry at Laredo and Pharr.

Baja California and Baja California Sur are producers of tomatoes for export, with protected agriculture systems widely used to produce Roma tomatoes, and smaller volumes of ripe and specialty tomato varieties, such as grapes.

The region supplies the West Coast of the United States through the border port of entry in Otay Mesa, California, with an export window from May to December.


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