Argentina: Producers of pears and apples ask the industry not to lower prices after the harvest

Fruit producers of the Alto Valle de Rio Negro demand that the industry does not lower prices after the harvest so that they can make the payment of their debt for dollarized inputs that increased with the devaluation.

The president of the Chamber of Fruit Producers of Fernandez Oro (Rio Negro), Carlos Zanardi, said the producers' debts had exponential increased due to the rise in the dollar, and asked the Argentine Chamber of Integrated Fruit Growers (Cafi) to intercede so that the businessmen do not lower prices after the harvest.

Since 2016, national legislators in the area promoted in Congress the creation of an Apple and Pear Institute - an adaptation of the existing Yerba Mate institute-, however, there has been no progress so far.

Zanardi said that production cost per kilo stood at about 34 cents but that producers closed their sales to the industry at an average of $ 4 per kilo, 70% of which was paid between January and April, in the pre-harvest.

"Primary producers have debts in dollars for the purchase of agrochemicals and other inputs tied to the dollar, which so far this year have increased by 50%," Zanardi said. He also said that consumption had fallen and that, with low temperatures, costs rise.

In this context, they will ask the Cafi that companies do not renegotiate contracts with lower prices. "The exporters will have better conditions because of the exchange rate and the farmers shouldn't have to bear a fall in prices," the official said.

He also said that the producers might be unable to pay their loans. "Not only do we not have financing, but we won't even be able to pay what we had agreed to, such as the Fondagro and provincial trustee lines, so we ask for a year extension to pay them," he said.

According to the exporters sales to Russia, the main overseas market, did not go well, so prices should be renegotiated. Operations with Brazil begin in Argentina's postseason.

According to data from Cafi, in 2017 Argentina produced 900,000 tons of apples and exported 280,000 tons. As a result of the low level of internal consumption (about eight kilos per inhabitant per year), the accumulated stock depresses prices. In Chile, for example, domestic demand is 11.5 kilos per person per year and in the European Union, 15.9 kilos. Alto Valle and Neuquen produce 85% of the country's total supply of apples and pears.


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