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Mexico: "The pineapple's prospects are terrible"
Carlo Giuseppe Manica Grajales, the head of the Pineapple Product System industrial link in the state of Oaxaca, stated that he was pessimistic because of the tariffs that benefit the importation of one fourth of the canned pineapple that the country consumes. He also said he thought things would get worse.
The producers who planted early resent being paid 600 pesos for a ton of fresh fruit but prices could decrease in April when the harvest starts to peak, nullifying profits and even absorbing most of the production costs.
The drop in prices affects fresh fruit producers and the people who process it and sell canned pineapple.
Manica Grajales, the director and owner of Sweep Treat agro-industries, which was established in 2013, has decreased its workload to two days to produce 10 to 12 tons per day. "There will be an unprecedented crisis, we haven't experienced what is happening now since the beginning of 2000," he said.
Back then, the sector was losing fruit because of imports. Producers were unable to market it as there was no place to sell it. This situation is very similar to what is starting to happen in 2018 and it will probably continue in 2019 because the marketing channels are not very developed.
Mexico's proximity to Canada and the United States is useless. None of the production in the 2 thousand or 3 thousand hectares harvested in the Cuenca region, mainly in Tuxtepec and Loma Bonita, is exported, everything is for the national market.
"The pineapple produced in Oaxaca is mainly used for agroindustrial purposes. We are the second biggest producers in the country after Veracruz, a state that produces eight times more pineapple than we do," he stated.
One current problems is that "customers don't buy Mexico's canned pineapples, they prefer to buy the ones coming from Thailand and Indonesia because it is cheaper."
"We are waiting to see what happens in the country, if there is a devaluation, we could better control things, but at the same time everything would become more expensive. The Government is very afraid of changing tariffs, because of the Free Trade Agreement," he said.
Furthermore, the authorities lack the courage to sue Thailand and Indonesia, as Australia did for predatory trading with small economies that contravene fair trade. In addition, there is a lack of support for farmers who only have one or two hectares.
Publication date: 3/6/2018
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