International Competitiveness of Blackberry Export Firms in Los Reyes, Michoacan, Mexico.

Author:Ortega, Odette V. Delfin
 
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INTRODUCTION

The blackberry is a fruit native to Europe, Asia and America. The interest in the cultivation of the blackberry has grown substantially in recent years, specifically as a berry tradable for fresh consumption, because of these factors: 1) The high profit of the crop, 2) Fast return on investment, 3) the intensive use of labor, 4) Versatility of the fruit for consumption and 5) Great possibilities for exporting the product (Merchand, 2013).

The production of blackberries in Mexico has increased from 11 thousand tons to over 130 thousand tons in the last decade (SIAP, 2014). The international trade for blackberries that are cultivated in Los Reyes, Michoacan began mainly due to the opening of export companies from foreign capital and the growth of productive activity in the municipality and in the region. This situation also increased the opening of exporters of the crop with foreign and domestic capital.

The article's main purpose is to show preliminary progress on the application of a tool to measure competitiveness in agricultural enterprises, which will determine if the variables selected can increase the competitiveness of firms. This document begins with a description of how the blackberry as a product is situated internationally and how this applies to Mexico and the region of study. Subsequently, the theories that support the investigation and the revision of models of measurement of competitiveness at the micro level are presented, ending with an explanation of the results obtained in the first stage of application of the research instrument and its conclusions.

THE BLACKBERRY IN LOS REYES, MICHOACAN

In Mexico, although the primary sector has decreased its participation in the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the importance of the blackberry crop is still marked, especially in states where the primary production is one of the principal activities, as is the case of Michoacan where it represents about 15% of the GDP state (SEDER, 2012).

For purposes of this research it is important to mention the behavior of world exports of the product, as can be seen in Table 1, considering the value in dollars and the volume per ton of exports. The main exporting countries of blackberries in the world are first the United States of America, which accounts for 26.8% of the total world exports, followed by Spain, with 21.8%, and Mexico, with the third largest export participation of 18.7%.

In Michoacan, blackberry production is distributed among 20 municipalities. Three of these municipalities account for approximately 75% of the production of this agricultural commodity. These municipalities include (1) Los Reyes; (2) Periban; and (3) Ario de Rosales. Of these three locations, Los Reyes is the main producer of this product with approximately 5,000 hectares under cultivation. This production emphasis in Los Reyes also has a major impact on the local economy and labor market dynamics. Five thousand permanent workers and ten thousand temporary workers support this local industry. This cash crop also accounts for 1/3 of the...

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