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Argentina only produces enough fruit and veg for half of its population

Thanks to the globalization of food, we have access to products originating from different and very distant countries. For example, a simple fruit salad can have bananas from the Indian Ocean; peaches, apples, and melons from the east, American strawberries, European grapes and Chinese kiwifruit that has been improved in New Zealand, all sprinkled with Chinese orange juice.

A vegetable salad can have tomatoes from the Americas, lettuce from India, onions from Central Asia, and European arugula. Argentina produces most almost all of these crops, with the exception of bananas, and exports several of them to other destinations.

However, from the nutritional point of view, the national situation is worrisome, far from what international and national nutrition institutions recommend. Argentinians are far from eating the 400 grams or 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day that authorities recommend.

According to research conducted by Sergio Britos, his team, and some colleagues from the Universidad Austral, in order to meet the needs, the country should double its current production without exporting anything. That is to say, Argentina only produces enough fruits and vegetables for 20 million people.

The perception in the country is that Argentina produces enough food for 400 million people, but that is only in terms of product calories, which are mostly fodder used to produce feed for livestock.

Horticultural production is generally peri-urban in most species, especially the most perishable ones, such as leaves, and some greenhouse fruits, such as tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, and others. The out of season products are grown in greenhouse centres located in Corrientes or Salta. There are also producers that only grow one crop, such as corn in various locations, or asparagus in Cuyo or potato / onion / squash or garlic in several provinces.

Argentina should generate state policies that combine the country's health, nutritional, educational, social and productive improvement needs by promoting fruit and vegetable consumption, starting in schools, supporting producers by giving them technical and commercial assistance, generating mechanisms that make it easier for institutional spaces, such as schools, hospitals, or dining rooms, purchasing fruits and vegetables from producers that are nearby them. This would improve the people's health, the environment, and the SME producers' conditions.


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