National Editor Tom Karst The U.S.-Mexico tomato issue continues to receive big treatment in the consumer press. Here, with the headline, "Could the cross-border tomato feud cost you more?", the Houston Chronicle takes a look at the issue with a decidedly pro-Mexico, free-trade perspective.
From the Oct. 6 story:
Texans have a stake in this beef. Mexican tomatoes, mostly grown in the Pacific Coast state of Sinaloa, are about all that's to be found in Texas groceries and restaurants much of the year.
"From a Texas perspective, a lot of the produce we handle is coming from Mexico … because we don't grow those products anymore," said Marco Palma, an agricultural economist at Texas A&M who points out that the state's tomato farmers lost out to imports years ago.
Charges of cheating and political conniving are flying across the Rio Grande. Talk of a trade war echoes in the national capitals. Whether they're talking tomatoes or tomates, almost everyone involved seems far from working it out.
The Los Angeles Times also covered the tomato dispute Oct. 2, with a headline "U.S.-Mexico tomato fight puts jobs, prices on the line." From that story:
Growers in Florida have demanded cuts in imports from Mexico, and Washington appears inclined to support the Floridians and the few farmers from other states who have joined the complaint.
That would require ending a 16-year-old trade agreement and endanger tens of thousands of jobs on both sides of the border, especially in California and other border states, advocates for the Mexican tomatoes say.
It also would probably increase the cost to U.S. consumers of fresh tomatoes, though it's unclear by how much. Mexico provides the United States with about half the fresh tomatoes it consumes, and many of the rest are grown in Florida, the United States' No. 1 producer of fresh tomatoes, followed closely by California.
The best reader engagement on the Web is found right here at The Packer, with the latest coverage "Mexico warns against tomato war" by Coral Beach drawing 26 comments and a previous story by me, "U.S.-Mexico tomato deal looks dead" receiving 19 comments.
You are either on one side or the other in this dispute. So, what side do you favor, and why?
In the Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group, I'm posting a poll this morning. Which side you favor in the Florida-Mexico dispute over the tomato suspension agreement?