Investment in a cold inspection facility at the Mariposa Port of Entry at Nogales by the state of Arizona has received praise from The Fresh Produce Association of the Americas.
Gov. Doug Ducey’s proposed budget includes $700,000 for the facility at the port, according to a news release from the FPAA. Other stakeholders, including the FPAA and Santa Cruz County, have added funding for the project.
The ability to distribute temperature-sensitive items such as berries can help importing companies to expand operations to year-round, according to the FPAA.
“Imagine Nogales companies selling strawberries, raspberries, sensitive leafy vegetable items and more,” Lance Jungmeyer, FPAA president, said in the release. “Presently these items are not imported very much in Nogales because inspection infrastructure is not adequate during warmer months. Now, Arizona can participate in these lucrative markets.”
The FPAA touted the economic benefits of the project, including adding jobs and increasing the area’s tax base.
Although the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports berry exports from Mexico to the U.S. are more than $1 billion a year, Arizona is a minor importer, according to the news release.
A University of Arizona study commissioned by the FPAAA concerning a cold inspection facility at the Nogales port shows economic effects:
- $43 million to $48 million in additional sales;
- $27 million to $30 million increase in gross state product; and
- $15 million to $17 million in labor income.
The FPAA and Santa Cruz County Port Authority have pledged up to $500,000 for the project, according to the release.