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Argentine garlic exporters expect answers from Brazil

Mendoza garlic exporters, who have already harvested much of this year's production, are expecting that contacts with foreign buyers will accelerate, but for the moment, they have been very slow. The harvest of purple garlic ended by mid-November and a few days later so did the white one. Expectations are that most of the red garlic will be harvested within the first two weeks of December. However, the external market for the garlic is still not completely formed.

This concerns a sector that is already beleaguered by problems of competitiveness and that is already demanding immediate measures to encourage exports.

Mariano Ruggeri, of Agroruggeri SA, summarized the sector's outlook by saying that it was quite disturbing since its main buyer -Brazil- has made very weak signals. He noted that, "goods are already available but no operations have been made."

Normally, the first shipments to Brazil are performed in early November, but, as Brazil has a lot of stock of their own garlic and garlic from China, the entrepreneur explained, the country had shown no clear interest. "Considering that 70% of our exports go to Brazil, we see this is a very complicated picture," Ruggeri said.

Another large percentage of the Argentine garlic goes to Europe. In this case, "they have a surplus in stock of Spanish garlic because Spain has gone from producing less than 10,000 hectares to about 18,000 hectares."

He said that, amidst their crisis, the Europeans had found in garlic a labour intensive sector that contributed to alleviate the unemployment, mainly in Spain. That's why European buyers "still haven't completed their share of import permits," said Ruggeri, who also chairs the Association of Producers, Packers and Exporters of Garlic, Onions and Similar products from Mendoza (Asocam).

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