Mar del Plata

Argentina: One hundred tons of tomatoes discarded due to low price

The tomato was news nearly a year ago because it was becoming a luxury product, as a kilo of tomatoes costs no less than 40 pesos in a grocery store. Now, it can be bought with a few coins, so few that producers in the region have opted to discard more than 100 tons of tomatoes as the prices obtained would not even cover the cost of packing.

Ricardo Velimirovich, president of the Fruit and Vegetable Producers Association from General Pueyrredon, confirmed that a significant portion of the recent harvest would end up fertilizing the lands. "The problem started because of a drop in sales and a lack of appropriate prices," he said to justify the measure.

He also said that assembling, packaging, and sending a box of 20 kilos of tomatoes to the market cost producers around 6 pesos. "But we were offered 1 peso per kilo," he said. Tomatoes can be bought for up to 5 pesos per kilo in the market places. "Even the points of collection and distribution have chosen to throw away the merchandise instead of losing more money," he said.

Velimirovich emphasized that the lower prices affected producers the most. According to him, the low prices hadn't impacted grocery stores as much as they had impacted the people cultivating and harvesting tomatoes.

He also said that producers couldn't give away all or part of these 100,000 kilos because, according to health requirements and local regulations, the merchandise that is given away must be packaged and producers are not willing to assume that cost.


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