Rio Negro and Neuquen

Argentina: Apples aren't ready for harvest yet

The harvest of the gala variety will begin in 10 days in the Alto Valle. The Federation of Producers of Rio Negro and Neuquen highlighted the fruit's quality but producers are worried about the price they will be paid for it. Sebastian Hernandez, the president of the entity, said exports had fallen by 60% and that they would bet heavily on the domestic market this season.

"One has to take into account consumption quality. It has to be tasty, and to be tasty it needs some pressure. The flavor is given by the process, when the fruit generates the sugars it needs to be tasty," Hernandez said, who added that, even though the Ministry of Agricultural business had authorized the apple harvest to start in January 20, the crops hadn't reached the necessary plant maturation to start it.

"We have a good quality, thanks to the work carried out throughout the whole year. We have to look at the fruit's color because of the heat there was this whole month. There should be dew and humidity at night, but that hasn't been the case. The fruit color is still not strong enough to harvest," Hernandez said.

Like every year, the Gala variety will be the first to be harvested. The Red Delicious harvest is scheduled for February 20, and it will be followed by the Granny Smith and end with the harvest of the Pink Lady variety.

"The fruit's quality is good because of the pruning and sanitation work we undertook, which allowed the fruit that wasn't affected by the hail to have a much better quality. However, producers aren't able to cover production costs and they find themselves unable to pay the debts they assumed," he said referring to the 500 million pesos that the Nation loaned them during 2017.

The Federation argued that the cost of production amounted to 34 cents per kilo, which is equivalent to about $ 6.46. "The minimum price of the fruit should be above $ 7.50. However, since there is no legal control on prices, we are at the mercy of supply and demand, so we are being crucified, as we're not being paid the corresponding values."


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