South Of The Border Perspective

My travels provided me a unique perspective on one of our trading partners, Mexico. I shared a morning program with Antonio Pedroza, CEO and President of Malta Cleyton, the largest producer of animal and pet food in Mexico. The following are some of the major highlights from his program and discussion from his very informative talk.

  • Mexico ranks number one in the world in silver production, sixth in petroleum and fifth in auto production. Auto production is facing stiff competition from China and Asia. Haven’t we heard this before?
  • Less than one percent of the population is involved in agriculture. The fastest growing and most potential in their economy is tourism with nearly 7,100 miles of coastline that caters to affluent countries.
  • One of Mexico’s major concerns is population growth which has declined by 30 percent since 2001. However, Mexico has a young population with rapidly changing dietary habits similar to countries north of the border.
  • Workers from Mexico that have traditionally gone to work in the upper Midwest are now going to Canada for more opportunity.
  • As much as 200 million metric tons of corn is being imported by rail from the upper Midwest going into livestock production, which is one of the fastest growing industries in Mexico.
  • Twenty-six percent of Mexico’s population is in the northern part of the country, which has the highest per capita income and will accept foreign branded products. Mexico City contains 20 percent of Mexico’s population with the lowest economic and social satisfaction.
  • Malta Cleyton is strategically positioning to expand into South America and Central America.

Don’t Drink the Beer!
Antonio shared a humorous story during his talk. He visited the U.S. as an exchange student and stayed with an American student’s family. The American student came to Mexico in the summer and was hosted by his own family. His guest would not drink the water or eat vegetables and would only drink Coke. The American student was asked, “Why?” Well, his parents and doctor told him while in Mexico, “Don’t drink the water.”

The table was turned the following winter in Rochester, NY, where Antonio was hosted by the American family. They went to a party after a basketball game while the parents were away. He was offered beer many times that evening and politely declined. When asked, “Why?” he stated that his parents and doctor said while in the U.S., don’t drink the beer.

The Road Warrior of Agriculture

My e-mail address is:sullylab@vt.edu

Editors' note: Dave Kohl, The Corn and Soybean Digest Trends Editor, is an ag economist specializing in business management and ag finance. He recently retired from Virginia Tech, but continues to conduct applied research and travel extensively in the U.S. and Canada, teaching ag and banking seminars and speaking to producer and agribusiness groups.

To see Dave Kohl's previous road warrior adventures type Dave Kohl in the Search blank at the top of the page.

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