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Mexico Proposes Gradual Phase Out of Glyphosate

Source: U.S. Dry Bean Council
 
Over the past months, we have reported on our concerns regarding a global surge in movements to ban to use of glyphosate and other herbicides/pesticides. Our biggest concern is that this will translate into the imposition of very low or zero tolerances for herbicide use in imported agricultural products, including dry beans. This would create a major disruption of trade. This is happening in many countries, but as our largest single nation export market, we have kept a close eye on developments in Mexico in this regard and in particular, the use of the Precautionary Principle. The Precautionary Principle would ban the use of any product without absolute certainty that it won’t cause health problems at some point. This is not a science based risk assessment, which is why there is so much concern.
 
Earlier this month, as reported in the Mexican daily, Reforma, and many other news publications, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) has ordered the gradual phase out of the use of glyphosate by 2024. While this does not translate into import restrictions at this time, it is of concern as it is not inconceivable that things could evolve that way. This concern goes beyond Mexico and applies to many of our other important export markets as well, including our largest regional market, the European Union. This is an issue of critical importance to USDBC. While CODEX has been the scientific standard for acceptable MRLs (maximum residue limits), that protect both human health and don’t disrupt trade, many countries are moving away from this and becoming more restrictive. We will be putting time and resources into this issue moving into the fall with the goal of preventing any disruption of trade.

Looking Ahead to Mexico’s 2020 Planting Season

The dry bean planting season in Mexico has not begun, but once it does the U.S. Dry Bean Council will provide crop updates. In the meantime, a few considerations reported from the USDBC Mexico City office will help determine the supply demand equation in the year ahead.
 
According to market intelligence in Mexico, there are no real changes to planting surface for dry beans.This comes despite efforts to achieve greater self sufficiency through the “Beans for Mexico” program. Based on information from the Mexican Agricultural Agency (SADER/SIAP), total planting intentions for the upcoming cycle is 1.47 million hectares, almost the same as last year. Retail bean prices have been very high as people are stocking up during the pandemic. This is a change from the downward trend noted in consumption of beans.The dollar/peso exchange rate is up 26 percent to 24 pesos to the dollar.

Dry Bean Congress Taking Place in Cancun, Mexico

The 2020 U.S. Dry Bean and Specialty Grains International Congress runs February 6-8 in Cancun, Mexico. For approximately 20 years, this event has offered trending industry topics, social events and business opportunities to hundreds of U.S. exporters and International importers of pulses and other specialty grains. This event is organized by the U.S. Dry Bean Council and cosponsored by the USA Dry Pea, Lentil and Chickpea Council, the USA Sunflower Association and the USA Popcorn Board´s Mexico in-market representative. Check out the agenda here.

Dry Bean Scene

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. This action is receiving praise from the dry bean industry. Learn more in this week’s Dry Bean Scene, made possible by the Northarvest Bean Growers Association.

USMCA Overwhelmingly Passes in the Senate

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement passed out of the U.S. Senate by an overwhelming vote of 89-10 Thursday. For agriculture, USMCA is estimated to increase U.S. exports by $2 billion. The vote comes just one day after the United States signed a new trade agreement with China, which promises to increase ag exports by tens of billions of dollars. President Trump took to Twitter after the passage, saying “the farmers are really happy with the new China trade deal and the soon to be signed deal with Mexico and Canada.”
 
Now, the deal heads to President Trump for a signature. The president is expected to sign the agreement sometime next week during a formal ceremony. Mexico’s legislature approved the trade deal last month, and all eyes are on Canada to ratify USMCA. The Canadian parliament isn’t scheduled to return until January 27.
 

USMCA Deal Reached

The United States, Mexico and Canada reached a deal on tweaks in labor and steel and aluminum provisions in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. “There’s no question this trade agreement is much better than the North American Free Trade Agreement, but in terms of our work here it’s infinitely better than what was initially proposed by the administration,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “It’s a victory for America’s workers and one I take pride in advancing.”
 
Mexico’s Senate has approved the changes made to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. On a 107 to 1 vote, Mexico is the first country to ratify the modified trade deal. Now, the USMCA needs approval from U.S. and Canadian lawmakers. The trade deal could come to the U.S. House floor next week for ratification.

Production Numbers Continue to Decline in Mexico

According to U.S. Dry Bean Council Mexican market intelligence, Mexico dry bean production estimates for November declined as harvest wraps up. Production is estimated around 400 thousand metric tons for all states that planted dry beans in 2019 spring/summer cycle. This would be 52 percent less than the 859,000 metric tons produced in 2018. In Chihuahua, some lots were not even harvested due to frost that occurred at the end of October and first week of November. Pinto beans are practically sold out. Zacatecas is reportedly the most stable so far. Damage is still being assessed and more cold fronts are expected during the remainder of November. Producers in Durango are trying to capitalize on the recent cold spells, demanding the government increase the price guarantee from 14,500 to 18,000 pesos (US$763.15 to US$947.36 per metric ton.) Read more.

Mexico Dry Bean Crop May Fall Short

The U.S. Dry Bean Council’s re-survey of the Mexican 2019 Spring-Summer dry bean crop confirmed definitively that the bean planting surface was reduced as a result of the drought from June through August,. As a result, production is estimated at 417,101 metric tons, 54 percent less than SIAP’s (Mexico’s agricultural data Secretariat) estimates and 52.5 percent less than the average in the last seven Spring-Summer cycles.
 
Total production for Mexico’s two dry bean crops of the 2019 agricultural year is expected to reach 700,298 metric tons, 43 percent short of SIAP’s projections and 38 percent below average production levels. Additionally, the estimated bean production, is not enough to trigger the use of the government’s dry bean support program. Read more.

Drought in Mexico Decreases Production Projections

The U.S. Dry Bean Council August Planting Intentions report confirms that extended drought in Mexico during the critical planting period resulted in an almost 50 percent decrease in bean planting surface. That also means a production drop of over 56 percent against the Mexican Agricultural Secretary’s (SIAP/SADER) projections.
 
During the critical month of June 2019, precipitation was scarce causing moderate drought in areas in the key dry bean growing states of Chihuahua, Durango, Guanajuato and Zacatecas, delaying bean planting. July was classified as the driest month in history, according to national records. The lack of rain caused extreme stress in the beans planted in the last week of June, reducing the planting surface. Read more.

Is It Too Late for the Mexico Crop?

Over the past few weeks, the U.S. Dry Bean Council has been reporting dry conditions in Mexico dry bean growing regions and offering projections about the potential impact on this year’s production levels. A lack of rain occurred during a critical time in the planting process. Therefore, most reporting, combined with the observations of an USDBC agronomist, make it increasingly certain that lack of planting, late planting and late rains will all affect production levels. Read more.