/ Modified mar 17, 2016 2:27 p.m.

Nogales Falls from Top Spot in Value of Produce Imports

Top import spot for dollar value of Mexican fruits, vegetables is Hidalgo, Texas.

ProduceGeneric2Spotlight (PHOTO: Fernanda Echavarri, AZPM)

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Nogales is no longer the top entry point, dollar-wise, for fruits and veggies from Mexico, found a University of Arizona study.

A report from the University of Arizona's Eller College of Management shows Hidalgo, Texas was the crossing point for the most valuable produce imports.

Roughly $3 billion worth of fruits and vegetables crossed through Hidalgo. That is more than double what passed through the port in 2010.

Nogales held the title of the busiest port for Mexican produce entering the U.S. for the last century. About $2.5 billion worth of produce has come through each of the past six years.

Experts attribute Nogales the drop to the kinds of produce that is moving through the different ports.

"The key is avocados," said report author and Eller School professor Vera Pavlakovich-Kochi. “Avocados are the main exportation commodity in terms of fruit from Mexico to the United States.”

Much of what passes in Nogales is produce that is less expensive, mostly vegetables.

Ports in Hidalgo and Laredo, Texas tend to have pricier fruits passing through, such as avocados.

When measuring by volume, Nogales remains the top port in the U.S. for Mexican produce.

The report shows Nogales' share of produce imports from Mexico by dollar-value is at an all-time low of 25.5 percent.

That number often reached topped 50 percent during the 1980s and 90s.

Pavlakovich-Kochi and other experts said the loss of market share is due to more than the types of produce that are moving through the port.

Infrastructure problems on both sides of the border, and a lack of staff at the Mariposa Port of Entry also contribute to the loss of market share.

Read the report from the University of Arizona's Eller College of Management here.

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