Argentinian citrus producers from the region of Litoral are concerned about the lack of demand for citrus products in the domestic market. In addition, producers are being paid almost $ 5 per kilo of oranges, while the fruit is sold at a minimum value of $ 35 in supermarkets.
According to Nicolas Carlino, a citrus producer from Monte Caseros (province of Corrientes) and secretary of the San Francisco Cooperative, "it will be very difficult to compete abroad if we don't have clear rules for the regional economies to plan their production and actions that provide background solutions for citriculture, even if we have a zero tariff like the one proposed by the treaty signed between Mercosur and the European Union."
Carlino said that growing oranges, mandarins, and grapefruits in Argentina was a risky productive activity, as purchasing a citrus plant involves an 18 to 24 months process in the nursery, and an additional wait of up to 5 years for the plant to start producing. In addition, each citrus plant reaches its productive peak after ten years.
Mercosur - EU agreement
The Mercosur-Eu agreement would decrease tariffs on citrus fruits for both economic blocs to zero in four to ten years. However, the free trade agreement - which would enter into force between 2022 and 2023 - still has to be approved by the parliaments of the member countries. Currently, the EU has tariffs of 6% and 30% for citrus fruits.