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Argentina: Tomato prices keep rising

The round tomato, undoubtedly, tops the list of the most popular and expensive vegetables this season in Argentina. The price of tomatoes continued its climb and reached 50 pesos ($ 8.57 dollars) per kilo in some supermarkets in northern and downtown Buenos Aires on Saturday. The issue caught the interest in social networks, especially on Twitter, as consumers are now paying a record price for this vegtable. Up until a few weeks ago, it was around 15 pesos ($ 2.6 dollars).
It may cost a bit less in some districts of Mendoza, but the truth is that the 17 kilo box, a weight they admit isn't always usable due to quality issues, can cost approximately 450 pesos ($ 77.2) at cooperative markets.

The same goes for the pear-shaped variety. Although its price was always below that of the round tomato variety, it's currently almost the same. The retail cost is around 35 pesos ($ 6 dollars) and the box is at 400 pesos ($ 68.6). Both producers and sellers have warned that prices won't fall until December.

To understand the spike in vegetable prices, one must take into account how detrimental the frosts were this year." The cold was widespread and affected most of the country's crops," explains Mary Peña, engineer for the Rural Development Institute (IDR). There's a shortage of agricultural products in the north and in the centre of the country.

This institution argues that almost all of the vegetables in the north completely froze. "They lost everything, almost 100 %," says another expert.

A report by this agency stated that "there was a continuation of the upward trend in prices of vegetables from the Argentine Northwest during September, as a result of the intense cold and frost widespread throughout the country." There are 60 % less vegetables in the cooperative market.

The current cooperative market supply is composed of the remains left by the frost and greenhouse crops. The most affected vegetables and with the least production are corn, red and green peppers, green beans, eggplants, tomatoes and asparagus.


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