Ariel Zucarelli, who belongs to a garlic producing family that began to produce this product in a 2.5- hectare farm in Fray Luis Beltran, was recently elected to be the president of the Association of Producers, Packers, and Exporters of Garlic, Onions and Similar products of Mendoza (Asocam).
The newly elected president said he had requested authorities in Buenos Aires reduce the retention on this product from $4 to $3 pesos per dollar, and that he wanted the seasons to be planned so that producers can obtain a higher quality product and better prices.
“The international market has a lot of stock, so the price in dollars, in general, is lower than last year. It is very difficult to define one because it depends on the variety and category of garlic, the type of packaging and the presentation.”
“However, in general terms, the market value this season is approximately 10 to 15% lower than last year due to this oversupply."
“The evolution in the coming months will depend a lot on the climate. If we achieve a good quality, we’ll be able to better defend prices. Buyers can pay a little more for a good quality product.“
“If our garlic’s has a poor quality, the market is going to fall. Last year we had an excellent season because it didn’t rain.This year, however, started with rains and that has complicated things for us."
“Producers have to be careful. There a lot of garlic in the field and, if it’s covered with a plastic and the sun burns it or the wind picks it up, they have to buy a new nylon; depending on the resources they have to save the product. However, if producers don’t neglect their crops, we’ll have the possibility of selling our production because our production comes out in the counter season.”
“Production costs are almost all in dollars and fuel prices increased more than the exchange rate. Costs are very similar to those of last year but we’ve had lower sales. The help we received from the devaluation wasn’t enough. In addition, if we take into account the $4 pesos per dollar exported retention we have to pay, we end up with a scenario that is much more complex than the one we faced last year.”
“Last week we met with the Minister of Agricultural Business, Luis Miguel Etchevehere, and we proposed lowering the retention to $3 pesos per dollar because, unlike soy crops, our harvest is manual, we move green garlic, we have to dry it, which is a process, and we pay much more for energy.”
"We presented him documents to prove that this tax is devastating for us. They made the commitment to review this issue for January, and told us that there were economic goals that had to be met, but that they would soon review the retention on garlic."
"I want the whole sector to plan what it’s going to plant, so that each producer has a buyer or has a dryer of his own where he can store his garlic until the market improves. If we increase production and don’t place it as a quality product, we won’t achieve good prices. If we produce less, we are going to supply interesting markets,” the president of Asocam stated.
"Another important issue for us is the anti-dumping tax on Chinese garlic in Brazil. This is crucial for us and the challenge is to ensure that this tax is not only maintained but enforced, because garlic is being imported from China to Brazil through Paraguay and Bolivia without paying said tax. In addition Chinese exporters initiate legal actions to defend themselves and end up in the market without paying the tax."
"The anti-dumping tax was renewed for one year in October, but now Brazilian producers are explaining why the tax should be kept and we, as members of Mercosur, are making a presentation regarding costs. Meanwhile, Chinese exporters who want the tax be eliminated, are working to get rid of it."