Esformes said any action that interferes with free and open competition in agriculture, particularly in perishables, is bad for growers.
Bob Spencer, vice president and sales manager of Palmetto-based West Coast Tomato Inc., said the agreement hasn’t been tested.
“Last year, we had a pretty good market,” he said. “Prices stayed well above the floor price. It didn’t test the agreement too rigorously. I would hope that would be the case again this year. We will really find out how well the agreement works is when we have a cheap tomato market.”
Chuck Weisinger, president and chief executive officer of Weis-Buy Farms Inc., Fort Myers, said time will tell how the dispute goes.
“Eventually, they (Mexican growers) will bump up against us in the suspension agreement,” he said. “What happens when they do have a problem with the minimums? I don’t know who’s suing who, but so far we haven’t been close to the minimums on anything.”