A new beef slaughterhouse plant will be built in the border city of Agua Prieta, Sonora, and increase the exports of quality meat cuts to the United States, Mexico’s Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development Víctor Villalobos and Sonoran governor Alfonso Durazo announced earlier this month.
The new TIF slaughterhouse, an establishment with federal sanitary inspections similar to the Food Safety and Inspection Service plants in the U.S., will be built about two miles west of the city.
It will cover nearly 25 acres, have a processing capacity of 1,500 heads per day and is expected to create up to 500 direct job opportunities.
“This is great news for the municipality (of Agua Prieta), for the ranchers and, I would say, for the whole state,” Villalobos said at a Jan. 13 news conference.
There are 17 similar beef facilities in Sonora. Although one is in the border city of Nogales, it only does meat processing, is not certified to slaughter cattle and can’t do meatpacking. The other plants are hundreds of miles south.
“We are integrating a binational market. The project is kickstarting in Agua Prieta, but we will try to replicate it in other parts of the border with the United States,” said Villalobos, noting that this is a pilot project and will serve as a “laboratory of teaching and training.”
According to information provided by the secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development, the plant will have the investment of the private sector in the U.S. Ranchers from the U.S. will have the opportunity to process cattle in the new plant and would become beneficiaries of the project.
The plant will reduce the amount of live cattle exports and increase the exports of quality meat cuts. It is a response to market demands and the industry’s workforce shortages in the U.S., which increases binational interest in the project, Villalobos said.
More cattle purchases will benefit small- and medium-scale ranchers in Sonora, Durazo said. A collection center in the region of Bavispe will be constructed to fatten and transport cattle to the slaughterhouse, he added.
“The idea is not only to get this service closer to the region, but that producers can participate in a society so that we take away middlemen and increase the benefits for producers,” Durazo said.
“A binational investment of this size is incredibly important. In Mexico this will be the first binational TIF slaughterhouse,” said Mario Colokuris, a businessperson from Grupo Mesteño, who is promoting the project and representing investors. “And Agua Prieta, in the state of Sonora, is getting it.”
Grupo Mesteño is a group of businesses with headquarters in the Mexican state of Chihuahua focused on raising and fattening cattle for export. Colokuris said during the news conference that they will offer funding to medium- and small-scale producers.
Along with the TIF slaughterhouse, the group will build a meatpacking plant. Colokuris did not give estimates of the investment for the projects.
Mexican authorities did not specify the estimated federal and state budget for building the public services associated with the TIF slaughterhouse.
Additionally, federal funds from both Mexico and the U.S. have been approved to renovate the port of entry of Agua Prieta, Sonora, and Douglas, Arizona, and build a new commercial one, west of the sister border cities.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will provide $216 million for the new Douglas Port of Entry and $184 million for the rehabilitation of the existing one. The development is expected to greatly increase the import-export capacity at the border cities and attract more private investment.
“We are very satisfied. What else can we ask for?” Agua Prieta Mayor Jesús Alfonso Montaño Durazo. “I knew that when you would visit, Mr. Secretary, Mr. Governor, we would have great news. We wish you could visit us every week.”
Source: Nuevo Día