Monday, April 25, 2011

Mexican Agriculture and American Consumers Impacted by Cartels?

A recent story in the McAllen Monitor raises the question of whether or not produce imports from Mexico are being impacted by drug cartels or simple economic and natural conditions. On one hand, economists may argue that rising prices can be blamed on added precautions needed to avoid drug cartels. On the other hand, those prices may be chalked up to the unavoidable costs of doing business.

In this case, it looks like both hands are full, as in, full of trouble. But one hand is full of trouble that can be avoided.

According to the story, some sources suggest the cartels are "charging" produce shippers for safe passage of their trucks, and sometimes even hijacking their supplies. They also say the necessary re-routing and safety measures they’ve had to implement to secure their produce supplies are impacting their businesses. Couple these problems with the normal challenges farmers face, such as extreme weather conditions and high energy prices, and you’re left with consumers picking up a hefty tab.

Food producers and consumers alike have long been accustomed to the normal effects on food prices such as weather patterns and economic conditions. But no one should be forced to accept higher food prices at the hand of drug cartel violence – especially when it could be avoided if our federal government would acknowledge and address the situation.

As you can read at, the drug cartel danger is very real and being felt right here in Texas. Regardless of which hand you look at, the negative impact of violent drug cartels has Texas and American agriculture producers and consumers paying higher prices.

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