Commercial agricultural products come mostly from three areas of the country: the tropical zones of the Gulf of Mexico and Chiapas, the irrigated lands of the north and northwest, and the Bajío area, a region of central Mexico. , the main agricultural products of Mexico included beef, fruits, vegetables, corn, milk, poultry, pork and eggs. All this represented around 80% of agricultural production.
The most profitable tropical crops are coffee and sugarcane. Coffee is exported but the cultivation of sugarcane is for internal consumption. Other important tropical crops are fruits such as bananas, pineapples and mangoes; as well as cocoa and rice. The vanilla that is native to Mexico is still cultivated. Cotton is an important crop in the agricultural export areas of Soconusco in Chiapas and northern Mexico.
As of the beginning of the 21st century, the rural labor force continues to be important, but it is shrinking.The traditional cultivation methods of small plots worked by families and small communities continue to dominate in many regions, especially those with large indigenous populations such like the South Plateau. In these areas, the main crops are corn, beans and squash, as in the Mesoamerican period. Many farmers still subsist thanks to self-consumption agriculture and earn money by selling surplus crops in local markets, especially in central and southern Mexico.
The export of agricultural products to the United States is particularly important, especially since the creation of the FTA. While only twelve percent of agricultural exports from the United States go to Mexico, approximately 60% of Mexico's agricultural exports go to the US The growing population of Mexico has made the country a net importer of grains. .
Because of the FTA, the United States obtains advantages over Mexico in the production of corn, but Mexico benefits in relation to the United States in the production of vegetables, fruits, and beverages. Among the crops whose exports to the United States grow fastest are winter fruits and vegetables, as well as fruit juices and fresh flowers. Two important products for export to the United States are avocados and tomatoes.
The United States banned the importation of avocado for 80 years, for hygienic reasons. In 1997, the importation of avocados from Michoacán to the United States was again allowed. Most of the imported tomatoes that are currently consumed in the United States come from Mexico.
Important Mexican agribusiness companies include the Maseca Group, with headquarters in Monterrey. This group has modernized corn flour production in Mexico and is the largest producer of corn flour in the United States. The company Pulsar Internacional in Monterrery has a series of high-tech agroindustrial companies, including Savia, which operates in 123 countries. A large number of US agribusiness companies invest considerable sums in Mexico, including the Campbell soup company, General Mills, Ralston Purina and Pilgrim's Pride. The latter is in second place among the largest producers of poultry in Mexico.