Mexican fresh imports super way not 'Pharr' to TexasMexican fresh imports super way not 'Pharr' to Texashttps://www.recenter.tamu.edu/news/newstalk-texas/?Item=51512014-01-28T11:06:00Z2014-01-28T00:00:00Z

PHARR, LOWER RIO GRANDE VALLEY - A super highway connecting the Cities of Mazatlan and Matamoros will result in an import boom for the Lower Rio Grande Valley, courtesy of fruit and vegetable traders in Mexico. The highway is scheduled for completion in first quarter 2014.

Traders will have the option to shorten their trip to the Valley by six to eight hours by taking the super highway up through Pharr. Transportation costs from Mazatlan to the Lower Rio Grande Valley could be reduced by up to $1,500 per load, according to Texas A&M Center for North American Studies.

Texas could serve as the hub of fresh produce trade between Mexico and the United States, and towns such as Pharr already have plans underway to receive the influx of goods, according to Hector Garza, industry relations director of the Texas International Produce Association.

“Because Pharr is in a unique spot and it’s got the Pharr Bridge produce terminal, instead of going to Brownsville they can jump off and go straight to Pharr and from there head north or northeast where the majority of the produce goes to,” said Garza.

Pharr also has the benefit of an overweight truck terminal to receive loads that otherwise may be too heavy to enter the United states.

By 2020, fruit and vegetable imports from Mexico to Texas are forecast to grow an outstanding 73 percent in comparison to 2012, equivalent to 615,000 truckloads, according to Texas A&M.

Texas is expected to account for over half of fruit and vegetable imports arriving to the United States from Mexico. At the heart of this growth will be the Rio Grande Valley, forecast to receive almost 60 percent of total produce imports from Mexico to Texas by 2020.

To take on this boom, Pharr will need to equip its facilities with additional inspectors, including an entomologist from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

Total jobs in Texas supporting produce imports are forecast to grow from just over 3,000 in 2012 to almost 7,000 in 2020. That compares 10,000 jobs between Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California combined, according to Texas A&M.

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