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PHARR, RGV – The City of Pharr celebrated the start of the 2016-17 produce season at the Pharr International Bridge earlier this week.

Among those in attendance were Pharr City Manager Juan Guerra, Pharr Bridge Director Luis Bazan, Bret Erickson, president and CEO of the Texas International Produce Association, state Rep. R.D. ‘Bobby’ Guerra, Reynosa Mayor Maki Ortiz Dominguez, and Guillermo Ordorica Robles, Mexico’s Consul in McAllen.

Guerra, D-McAllen, passed legislation at the state Capitol to have more agricultural inspectors at the Pharr International Bridge in order to get trucks moving. As it is perishable, fresh produce can go to waste if it is delayed at the bridge.

Also in attendance was Rosendo Hernandez Robles, Reynosa Bridge Director of SENASICA, the National Service of Health, Food Safety and Quality office of Mexico’s SEGARPA (Secretary of Agriculture, Ranching, Rural Development, Fishing and Feed).

Bazan pointed out that the United States has always been Mexico’s No. 1 trading partner for produce and goods.

“In particular, the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge has evolved into the largest land port for fruits and vegetables in the nation. The city of Pharr has now surpassed Nogales, Arizona as the leading port of entry for Mexican produce and goods, thanks to Mexico’s new superhighway,” Bazan said.

“The $2 billion superhighway provides the country’s first major east-west corridor running through the middle of Northern Mexico. What was once shipped through Arizona will now take a shorter route east to South Texas, saving truckers an average of $3,000 and 16 hours per round trip dependent on the final destination.”

Bazan said Pharr continues to break import-export records, crossing 60 percent of all fresh produce coming from Mexico. “Pharr is the leading bridge for produce such as avocados and raspberries and number two for tomatoes,” Bazan added.

Editor’s Note: Photos: RGG/Shon Gonzalez