Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mexican Freeze Out

It is a measure of how cold the northern Hemisphere was this winter when Mexico is knocked out.  Cheap produce will disappear for a couple of months and we will see expensive produce flown in from Africa and the southern hemisphere.

Otherwise, these reports share with us, just how ready the growers are in terms of responding to the situation.  The shortfall will be brief.  Enjoy your potatoes and carrots.  That is what we used to winter over with along with sauerkraut.

Yet it is a remarkable testament to modern agriculture that both Florida and Mexico can be experiencing crop failure without seriously over straining the supply chain.  A few items will simply be unavailable for a rather short while.

I continue to look forward to the advent of airships able to carry four containers of produce on regular routes straight from processor to your local wholesaler.  All Central America and the Caribbean will become North America’s market garden.

Mexico freeze kills 80-100 pct of crops; US food prices to soar


Feb. 8, 2011

All of our growers have invoked the act of god clause on our contracts (force majuere) due to the following release:

The extreme freezing temperatures hit a very broad section of major growing regions in Mexico, from Hermosillo in the north all the way south to Los Mochis and even south of Culiacan. The early reports are still coming in but most are showing losses of crops in the range of 80 to 100%.

Even shade house product was hit by the extremely cold temps. It will take 7-10 days to have a clearer picture from growers and field supervisors, but these growing regions haven’t had cold like this in over a half century.

This time of year, Mexico supplies a significant percent of North America’s row crop vegetables such as green beans, eggplant, cucumbers, squash, peppers, asparagus, and round and roma tomatoes.

Florida normally is a major supplier for these items as well but they have already been struck with severe freeze damage in December and January and up until now have had to purchase product out of Mexico to fill their commitments; that is no longer an option.

With the series of weather disasters that have occurred in both of these major growing areas, we will experience immediate volatile prices, expected limited availability, and mediocre quality at best.

This will not only have an immediate impact on supplies, but because of very strong blossom drops, this will also impact supplies 30 – 60 days from now. Some growers are meeting with their boards right now to determine whether they should immediately re-plant, hoping for a harvest by late-march-to-early-april, or whether they should disc the fields under and wait for another season.

We are doing everything we can with our growers to minimize the effect of this disaster on you. With the unprecedented magnitude of this event we wanted to immediately make you aware of the conditions. We will continue to send out communications as our people on the ground report back to us. We thank you and we appreciate your understanding during this time. Reduced solar activity coupled with a current La Nina event contribute to freezing temperatures across much of North America. ~ Ed.

11 February 2011 Last updated at 20:41 ET

A spell of unusually cold weather in northern Mexico has severely damaged the maize crop in the state of Sinaloa.

Officials estimate the losses could amount to four million tonnes of corn - 16% of Mexico's annual harvest.

President Felipe Calderon said everything possible must be done to re-sow the fields over the next two weeks.

There are fears the losses could force up the price of the corn tortillas that most Mexicans eat with every meal.

Officials say up to 600,000 hectares (1.5m acres) of maize have been lost to frost in Sinaloa, which is home to some of Mexico's richest farmland.

At a meeting with Sinaloa farmers and state officials, President Calderon promised federal aid, credit and prompt insurance payments to help farmers get new crops in fast before it was too late in the season.

"It is not an ordinary catastrophe or the simple loss of a harvest, but an emergency situation that demands a clear and forceful response from the authorities, a response that is not lost in bureaucratic delays," he said.

"It's not just the billions of pesos that may be lost," he added. "We have to recover all we can because it is vital for feeding the country."

Tortilla prices have already been rising in line with a spike in grain prices on global markets.

In 2007 high tortilla prices provoked widespread protests in Mexico.

Maize was first domesticated in Mexico and remains the main staple crop.

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