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Worries about Chinese garlic
Argentine garlic drops to third place worldwide
The association of producers, packers and exporters stated that Argentina was the second biggest exporter of garlic thanks to Mendoza, and especially to San Rafael. Unfortunately, their lack of competitiveness has displaced Argentina in the international markets and now the country is the third biggest exporter of garlic worldwide.
The garlic producing sector, like many others, is in crisis. Exporters are faced with the entry of Chinese garlic and they are concerned. Guillermo San Martin, a member of the Association of Packers and Exporters, spoke with Radio VOS (FM 91.5). He said that the reality of the sector is that they are not being competitive internationally. "Argentina was the second biggest exporter of garlic thanks to the province of Mendoza and San Rafael, which played an important role in this production. Now we rank third, as Spain has displaced us in many international markets," he said.
"In addition, according to the information we get from the press, this year, China's production will be 30% higher than last year. That worries us a lot because it means international prices will decrease. China's production has a very strong subsidy because they consider that their garlic production is part of their primary production. They don't really see garlic as a productive crop, they consider it a social crop, so its production price is almost symbolic. Then producers sell it to big packers, who in turn sell it to the rest of the world. That's why international prices go down a lot," he said.
So far, he said, this information is based on the estimates of Chinese companies, as the harvest still hasn't started. "We want to grow and we need to improve our competitiveness. That's why we've asked the National Government to review the export refunds related to the regional economies, which have been in force since 2017. We want them to go from 4.5% to 8%, especially because we want to anticipate the problems caused by inflation. We have a strong labor content. This is a crop that needs more labor, especially taking into account the production at the farm, the primary production, and the packing facilities."
The National Garlic Table, which was convened by the Undersecretariat of Agriculture of the Ministry of Finance, was held in the first days of April in Tupungato. Provincial officials from the Ministry of Agricultural industry, and representatives from the sector participated in the event, where they discussed the reality and projections of the sector.
Regarding this event, San Martin said, "they gave us medium-term tools, such as sources of financing, increasing productivity and quality, mechanization etc - because we needed these type of instruments. However, we have no short term solutions to help us defend the Brazilian market. The sector must continue working and improving its quality, even though there is a 15% to 25% inflation. Mendoza always has good quality, but we must produce a Premium garlic. Since it's in a desert, our garlic has more properties, and this is what we should promote. We want to produce in all of the province of Mendoza and the Malvinas area, mainly in San Rafael, as it can adapt to any market."
Publication date: 4/21/2017
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