RIYADH: Mexico, one of the largest food exporters in the world, has pledged to step up collaborative efforts with Saudi Arabia on the issue of food security and trade in agricultural products.
The two countries are currently mapping out a specific strategy to boost cooperation in the agricultural sector as Mexico gears up to become the world’s 10th largest food producer in the next 10 years.
This was disclosed by Jose Calzada Rovirosa, Mexican minister of agriculture, livestock, rural development, fisheries and foodstuffs, in an interview with Arab News, here Sunday. Rovirosa said that “Saudi Arabia and Mexico can work together to develop robust logistical channels and value chains that promote the development of agribusiness in Mexico and simultaneously contribute to the Kingdom’s food security objectives.”
The Mexican minister, who is leading a 41-member business delegation, said that his visit follows the trip made last January by Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to Saudi Arabia to strengthen commercial relations and promote new investments.
Rovirosa will also visit the UAE, Qatar and Kuwait during this leg of his trip to generate awareness about investment in Mexico.
Referring to the progressively growing relations between the Kingdom and Mexico, he said that the total two-way trade exceeds $1 billion yearly. “This is still a modest sum, but 270 percent more than 10 years ago,” said the minister, adding that the Kingdom is the biggest trade partner of Mexico in the Middle East.
Regarding food products, in 2015, Mexico exported $15 million alone in natural honey. Other products imported by the Kingdom are berries, avocados, mangos, cereals and agave syrup.
Asked about areas of cooperation in the agricultural sector, he pointed out that “one of the objectives of my visit is to pinpoint relevant cooperation areas in the field of agriculture, water and food that could eventually be translated into meaningful memoranda of understanding. These accords would complement the other 11 legal instruments signed during the visit of President Nieto, including a general cooperation agreement and a double taxation treaty,” he added.
“Our interest is to attract Saudi businessmen interested in the huge potential Mexico offers,” said the minister. He said that Mexico is specializing in the production of value-chain products, from sowing, to cropping, packaging, processing, marketing and consumer distribution. There are opportunities and incentives in all areas for small, medium and big companies, including start-ups.
Asked about Mexico’s plans to become one of the world’s top 10 food producers, he said that Mexico is actually one of the most important food producers in the world. It is the first exporter worldwide of avocado, mango, guava and papaya. “We are the second exporter worldwide of tomato, lime, lemon, shelled walnuts, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberry, fresh Bluefin tuna, frozen orange juice, cocoa powder with added sugar, melon and watermelon and asparagus,” he noted.

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