Mexican farmers block Texas port of entry for second day

Mexican farmers continue to block access to the commercial crossing at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge, according to Armando Taboada, assistant director of field operations at the Laredo Field Office of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

“The bridge is still blocked and traffic should be diverted to other port crossings as per our contingency plans,” Taboada said in an email Thursday.

Taboada said commercial trucks that need to cross the Pharr, Texas, bridge should use nearby ports of entry, including the Port of Progreso, Port of Roma and Port of Los Indios.

Commercial traffic at the bridge has been halted since Wednesday afternoon due to the blockade on the Mexican side of the bridge.

Mexican farmers are protesting economic conditions — reportedly government cuts in sorghum subsidies — that affect the agricultural industry.

According to news outlets in Mexico, farmers want to be paid $3,735 pesos per ton for sorghum, while the Mexican government wants to pay $2,900 or $3,100 pesos per ton.

Aaron Acosta, corporate relations manager for Pharr-based Villita Avocados, said they have had to reroute trucks the past two days because of the protests.

Villita Avocados, which imports Hass avocados from the state of Michoacán in central Mexico, averages around 30 to 50 trucks a week at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge.

“We’ve been diverting trucks to the international bridge in Los Indios and the bridge in Brownsville,” Acosta said.

Pharr is about 35 miles from the bridge in Los Indios, Texas, and 58 miles from Brownsville, Texas.

“It does cost us some time and money, but it is better to divert them instead of waiting to see what happens at the Pharr bridge,” Acosta said.