UA study: new data on fresh produce and production-sharing - Tucson News Now

UA study: fresh produce and production-sharing important to Santa Cruz County

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SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The University of Arizona today released a report on just how much the fresh produce and manufacturing industries impact Santa Cruz County.  It has been more than ten years since a report like this has been done.  Nogales Community Development says the study will bring attention to what already has been accomplished in the region, and what needs to be done for growth.

Vera Pavlakovich-Kochi, a study researcher and member of University of Arizona's Eller College of Management, Economic & Business Research Center and School of Geography and Development says fresh produce and production-sharing or "maquiladora" are "the two most important chunks of the economy of santa cruz county."

"Maquiladoras" are U.S. Companies with factories in Mexico.  The two industries do not necessarily work together, but they have shared interests and issues, and both contribute heavily to Santa Cruz County's economy. 

According to the study, "Fresh Produce and Production Sharing: Foundations and Opportunities for Nogales and Santa Cruz County," the fresh produce industry brings in more than one-third of Santa Cruz County's economic output, totaling $437.7 million in direct and secondary economic output, which helps supply 22-percent of all jobs and 25-percent of wages in the area.  Production-sharing, or "maquiladora" had never before been studied in the area.  According to this new report, "maquiladoras" contribute $305 million and support direct and secondary jobs, including 10-percent of all Santa Cruz County jobs and 9-percent of all wages.

"Santa Cruz County and Arizona will now realize that our two industries represent 57-percent of all the GDP," said Richard Rubin who sits on the Maquila Association board.  Rubin says a trend in manufacturers leaving China and coming to Mexico are benefiting Arizona. 

For both industries to grow in Southern Arizona, Rubin says better inter modal transportation is needed.  If product could go from a truck and onto a train, Rubin says it would increase competitiveness. 

"If we had a place in Tucson or Phoenix that we could put that container on the train and send it to the East Coast, this area would boom like crazy," Rubin said. 

At today's meeting held at SunFed, speakers acknowledged that on both sides of the border, a more highly-skilled work force to grow with changing production methods is also needed. 

"The Sonora high education institution seem to be catching up much sooner in terms of providing programs in corporation with their industry," said study author, Pavlakovich-Kochi, referring specifically to some of the maquiladoras in Mexico.

To look at the full report, visit the following link:  http://nogalescdc.org/NCD_EDA_Econ_Report%20Final_09272013.pdf    

 

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