Florida requests new tomato pact with Mexico

06/26/2012 10:24:00 AM
Andy Nelson

“Over the past 16 years, we’ve seen the American consumer transition to varieties besides artificially-matured tomatoes,” he said. “We don’t see that trend stopping.”

In a statement, Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Nogales-based Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, which represents shippers and importers of Mexican produce, said the association is confident that Mexico has abided by the letter and intent of the suspension agreement.

“The suspension agreement has provided some order to the marketplace, which was the original intent,” Jungmeyer said. “We are pleased that since 1996, when the first Tomato Suspension Agreement took effect, tomato growers from Mexico have been diligent in complying with the agreement.”


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Steve    
CA  |  June, 26, 2012 at 11:42 AM

"THEY'RE BACK" "Unlevel playing field" PLEASE! Maybe Mexico should start imposing more restrictions on produce that comes from the U.S.

Francisco    
Sonora  |  June, 26, 2012 at 04:13 PM

Nobody should block with restrictions the natural way of doing business; it´s simple... China make with lower costs toys, clothes, etc etc... that´s why US buy from them... it´s the same for tomatoes if Mexico produce them with lower costs and US growers can´t compete... leave the business to Mexico growers.

Jonas    
Houston  |  June, 27, 2012 at 06:52 AM

In an unrelated note Nokia just filed papers to sue Apple for making an awesome cheap phone! Too bad US growers can't push to create an APEAM sorry I meant to say APETM (Asociacion de Productores y Exportadores de Tomates de Mexico)

steve    
Texas  |  June, 27, 2012 at 08:31 AM

How bout Mexico keeps their produce the grow. SHUT THE BORDER DOWN!!!!!!! Times are tough and its time to get tough. The US needs to support our own, Mexico should do the same and grow for your own consumption. If they must sell to the US ( which they do to survive) then quit giving it away. They are not selling, anybody can move stuff if you are the cheapest priced guy out there, there is no talent in what they are doing.

carlos garza    
irapuato, mexico  |  June, 27, 2012 at 09:26 AM

perhaps investing or making a joint venture within mexican growers is a better avenue. other american companies are doing that.

Jesse    
Dallas  |  June, 27, 2012 at 09:16 AM

Interesting. Perhaps the Florida growers could grow something that actually tastes good? They have been watching the protected technology in mexico produce better product and have done nothing but complain...rather than innovate?

FDS    
Mexico  |  June, 27, 2012 at 10:27 AM

The problem with Florida is #1 they produce a cardboard tasting tomato. #2 they cannot produce the yields that we Mexicans produce due to more advanced technologies #3 they are being audited by their own law system which prohibits them from sourcing illegal laborers #4 they have been protected by the US government and still can compete. Add to this the fact that US retailers will not pass the savings of a tomato case bought at minimum prices to the US consumers. "It is not the strongest which survives, but those which have the capacity to adapt' Darwin 101

Protectionist    
AZ  |  June, 27, 2012 at 10:58 AM

Let's face it, the Florida tomato industry is antiquated. The entire premise of the suspension agreement is that Mexican producers are flooding the market with a comparable product at prices below the cost of production. Therein lies the rub. First, the two products are not comparable. Since the inception of the Suspension Agreement, Mexican producers have made a VERY strong push to move their production into protected structures. This has a three-fold consequence. The first being that you are producing a far superior end product with less chemical applications. The second is that you produce a much more uniform product with a much smaller percentage of the production being discarded. Third, due to the higher quality and less waste product, the total output from the same surface area brings down the cost of production on a per box basis. The suspension agreement is from another time, another era of produce. It no longer applies. If Florida wants to argue the facts, they should do their homework first.

FDS    
Mexico  |  June, 27, 2012 at 01:00 PM

AMEN!

jim    
fl  |  June, 27, 2012 at 11:26 AM

How come nobody is explaining the fact that mexican growers pay their employees $8.00 per day instead of the $80-$100 dollars perday in the states. They are not burdened with the rediculous food saftey regulations, and all of this "new" seed varieties they are claiming to have comes from american companies that have moved to mexico because of cheap labor and less restrictions. Lets also not forget that mexican growers are still allowed to use banned chemicals.

dhinds    
Guadalajara  |  June, 29, 2012 at 09:54 PM

You're out of sync with the times. Labor costs are far about those you state - about half those in the USA.

Protectionist    
AZ  |  June, 27, 2012 at 05:34 PM

Jim, I really suggest you re-evaluate your position and base it on facts. To say that Mexican producers "are not burdened with rediculous(sic) food safety regulations" is a bit of a joke. These producers are shipping to the same retailers that Florida producers are, and are performing the same GAP/GMP certifications (if not the higher global standards). Regarding the seed varieties, I think you are a little behind the times. Take a look around at the major seed companies and you will see that many of them may have an American arm to them, but these are international companies, many of which are now based in Israel. If you think the United States is the innovation center of the world, you are very much mistaken. And regarding your point about American companies moving to Mexico, they are doing so not because they hate America, but because it is a business and it makes good business sense to do so. Take a poll of how many Florida growers are either partnered with a Mexican producer or have started producing there themselves. You may (or may not) be surprised that the number is far greater than you think. This is a business, controlled by a marketplace. If the market dictates it wants something other than what is available, someone will find a way to provide. In this instance it is hard working, entrepreneurial folks who have found that producing tomatoes in Mexico is still a financially viable business.

Bob    
USA  |  June, 29, 2012 at 04:56 PM

As everyone can see the majority of these comments regarding pro-Mexican tomatoes come from Mexico producers, a little bias probably. Protectionist, your comment on food safety is a very good point, however the question may be the types of audits conducted by third auditors, annoyed versus unannounced. It's fairly simple to cover up mandatory protocol if you know the auditor is arriving a week in advance. In addition we as GAP coordinators still have to teach migrant workers from Latin american countries that its okay to flush toilet paper and the importance of washing their hands. The common question the Mexican producers are dodging is the use of RUP's deemed unsafe by the united states EPA.

Protectionist    
AZ  |  June, 27, 2012 at 05:34 PM

Jim, I really suggest you re-evaluate your position and base it on facts. To say that Mexican producers "are not burdened with rediculous(sic) food safety regulations" is a bit of a joke. These producers are shipping to the same retailers that Florida producers are, and are performing the same GAP/GMP certifications (if not the higher global standards). Regarding the seed varieties, I think you are a little behind the times. Take a look around at the major seed companies and you will see that many of them may have an American arm to them, but these are international companies, many of which are now based in Israel. If you think the United States is the innovation center of the world, you are very much mistaken. And regarding your point about American companies moving to Mexico, they are doing so not because they hate America, but because it is a business and it makes good business sense to do so. Take a poll of how many Florida growers are either partnered with a Mexican producer or have started producing there themselves. You may (or may not) be surprised that the number is far greater than you think. This is a business, controlled by a marketplace. If the market dictates it wants something other than what is available, someone will find a way to provide. In this instance it is hard working, entrepreneurial folks who have found that producing tomatoes in Mexico is still a financially viable business.

Jaime    
Donna  |  June, 27, 2012 at 07:14 PM

Under the new agreement that Florida wants is what? to tax tomatoes? That would help clean the small produces of tomatoes in Mexico which only produce for 1 cycle taking advantage of the goverment aid and it would also make a market more competitive. The cost of labor, the technology used, the variarities planted..... all of those are external factors that each grower has to try to fix in their own ranch. We could also complain about the border being close due to "salmonela" on tomatoes to protect the US growers when it was actually on Jalapeños...(supposed to be). Gas greens are not the same as mexican vine ripes but is what Florida has to produce because they are obsolete on their methods and they cant get the yields. Diversify with other fruits or vegetables and try to accomplish the yields. Stop complaining like Obama said, and get to work.

POMODORO    
CA  |  July, 07, 2012 at 03:55 PM

No doubt US tomato producers could be more successful, too, if they received (as much as) a 60% subsidy to erect protected agricultural structures from their government like Mexican producers do currently. In addition, Mexican producers receive low interest credit provided by the Mexican government to fund tomato production including input purchases, food safety infrastructure, etc. Further, with no corresponding Mexican agency monitoring production or providing for an orderly marketing of the tomatoes produced within these heavily subsidized operations, overproduction without incidence results. Last, fueled by an advantageous exchange rate, 99% of this production is shipped to the US market driving US tomato prices downward. If this is such a successful/great program, why aren't "Mexican consumers" supportive of their own country's industry?

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