Too soon to tell effects of tomato suspension deal

05/24/2013 11:08:00 AM
Tom Burfield

“We’ll have to see how good of a job marketing people do,” he said.

But he believes shoppers will feel the pinch.

“Floor prices will be higher, which means consumers will pay more in the end,” he said.

U.S. greenhouse growers strongly favor the agreement, said Ed Beckman, chief executive officer for Certified Greenhouse Farmers, Bellevue, Wash.

“It was an issue we fought for,” he said.

Greenhouse growers are pleased that the agreement defined greenhouse product.

“It’s clearly spelled out what a controlled environment greenhouse tomato is,” he said.

The agreement also sets specific pricing for greenhouse tomatoes and for field and “adapted environment” tomatoes, which would include shade cloth structures.

“In crafting this new agreement, the Department of Commerce and Mexico agreed that greenhouse tomatoes grown in a controlled environment are a unique product as compared to field and shade cloth product,” Beckman said.

But he said the impact of the agreement won’t depend on what is written on paper.

“It comes down to enforcement of the agreement by the Department of Commerce and the (U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act),” he said.

 

New tomato prices

The floor prices set by the tomato suspension agreement signed early this year by Mexican growers and the U.S. Department of Commerce:

  • Open-field and “adapted-environment” tomatoes are 31 cents per pound in the winter and 24.58 cents per pound in the summer.
  • Controlled-environment tomatoes are 41 cents per pound in the winter and 32.51 cents per pound in the summer.
  • Loose specialty tomatoes are 45 cents per pound in the winter and 35.68 cents per pound in the summer.
  • Packed specialty tomatoes have minimum prices of 59 cents per pound in the winter and 46.79 cents per pound in the summer.


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