Tomato suspension case debated at Mexico convention - The Packer

Tomato suspension case debated at Mexico convention

08/26/2012 11:55:00 PM
Fred Wilkinson

Seed companies have seen increased orders for bell pepper seeds and other non-tomato vegetable crops, he said.

While tomato producers in Mexico and Florida are on the front lines of the suspension agreement situation, the financial stake of U.S. retail and foodservice clients regarding the need for a stable tomato market adds to the urgency to settle the issue in a timely manner.

Chris Ciruli, chief operations officer of Nogales, Ariz.-based importer Ciruli Bros., said the amount of business and money on the line on both sides of the border and to so many allied sectors of the economy — transportation, distribution, equipment, marketing — should result in Mexican and U.S. trade negotiators coming to a resolution.

Tomatoes account for about 60% of production among AMHPAC’s 260 members, with bell peppers, squash, eggplant and other vegetables making up the difference, Viramontes said.

The group’s convention ran Aug. 22-25.

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Elmer C. Mott    
Arcadia,Fl.  |  August, 27, 2012 at 10:04 AM

Talking about out sourcing. I don't think any other industry has been affected as much as the Ca. and Fl. vegetable growing industry. It has been done by our failure to address the issues of wage disparity and cultural practices. Those of us who farm in America are held to the strictest regulations concerning the use of fungicide ,insecticide, herbicide and fertilizer. In order for us to move our produce to the major suppliers we must have USDA INSPECTIONS and inspections done by independent labs and be certified by both. These are nothing less than third party audits of our operations. As a long term member of America's farming community I have seen numerous commodities slowly but surly go to Central America, Mexico, Canada and other nations. I hope we can address and resolve this issue before permanent damage is done to our disappearing farmers. Sincerely, Elmer C. Mott

California  |  August, 27, 2012 at 03:36 PM

I commend Mr. Mott for his comments. I trust the U.S. tomato industry would be in better health, too, if the US government funded domestic growers at 60% to develop hothouse cultures and provided US tomato growers with low interest production loans to grow tomatoes, fund food safety programs, etc., as does the Mexican government. And, why, if Mexican tomatoes are perceived as "superior quality", do they export 99% of their crop to the US annually? Mexico's population comsumes twice as many tomatoes per capita each year then its US counterparts yet they don't consume any of their own domestic product? The US tomato industry is merely asking for the "playing field to be level" and for all parties to compete equitably.

Fernando de Saracho jr.    
Nogales Az  |  August, 29, 2012 at 02:01 PM

Most food Items that are imported to the USA are safer than domestic supply due exactly because they are produced outside of this country; USA has far more recalls originating from food borne illness than that of imports because there are fewer auditors checking the safety of domestic food supply, you can think of a child left alone inside a candy factory. Mexico exports between 45 to 48% of total USA tomato consumption (United States International Trade commission - Investigation No. 332-350 USITC Publication 3959 Nov 2007). The Balance is produced mainly the US. Most of the comments that I read, and the conversations that I have with USA growers are focused on how to increase the difficulty for competition rather than how to make that flow of demand move freely along the supply chain. Why aren't we talking about how retailers could help the end consumer get a better price at their stores by lowering their prices when they could? Thus increasing tomato and other commodity consumption by this action, they are the bottle neck, retailers; Some farmers invest with the times, in technology, other stay in the gas ages, results speak for themselves. There's always olive oil salt & pepper! The public has the right to know where the food is coming from, we should start at that point, do a GAP comparison and let them decide. An impartial HD documentary would be nice to educate the unaware. Many of us learned from the best California farmers, my father was a tomato picker for S&H @ Gonzalez packing, then a grower in Mexico, we later shipped for Deardorff-Jackson. We learned from the best and then some. I have a lot of respect for these two companies, and any grower that works for the end consumer.

Pedro Borboa    
Culiacan  |  August, 30, 2012 at 11:53 AM

1) Mexicans eat Mexico grown tomatoes, under conditions that surpass the most strict standards set out by your government. 2) Most tomatoes exported have not been neither subsidized, nor government grants have been received to produce a world class product, there are few exceptions which are irrelevant due to the little number of hectares compared to the whole surface. 3) Growing technologies have been around for a long time, it has been up to the US grower not to embrace those technologies that would benefit from scarcer labor due to the specialization level required under such intensive conditions. 4) You are always welcome to visit us and see how we do things down here, if you have any advice to give us we would be glad to hear it, as we have heard some from people all over the world with the results that you already know. Best Regards

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