Argentina continues to import apples in the midst of fruit crisis

 Photo by  Marina Khrapova  on  Unsplash

Apples are continuing to arrive from abroad. In the midst of the biggest crisis in the history of fruit growing in the Alto Valle of Rio Negro and Neuquen, apple imports in 2017 continue to increase. In 2016, Argentina imported 2,992 tons of apples. Meanwhile, so far in 2017 the country has imported 533 tons, according to the latest report from Senasa. Last year imports increased strongly from July onwards, and if this year that trend persists, by December the country could have imported 3,435 tons of apples.

Meanwhile the local farmers are being affected by the high costs of production and the fall of some of the main international markets where they locate their products.

Most of this year's imports come from Chile (488 tons), and the remainder comes from Ecuador (22 tons) and Brazil (23). It is disheartening to think that Argentina is now importing apples from Brazil, when traditionally Brazil received 50% of the apples produced in Alto Valle. The trade link with the neighboring country has radically changed in the last three years. In 2016, Argentina exported 21,641 tons of apples to Brazil and in 2015, 24,144 tons. Very far from the 50,000 tons exported in 2014.

Chile is placing its production in the world with an aggressive policy of low prices and average quality. A strategy that its wine industry also uses. At this moment, an 18-kilogram box of apples arrives at the Central Market at US $14. That is, about 23 pesos a kilo. The middle and high quality box of apples from the Valley oscillates between 14 and 28.5 pesos per kilo. According to wholesale producers, according to their cost levels, they should be charging it at US $18. Chilean producers are disputing this segment, in which the product reaches higher qualities, appealing to competitive values.

According to people from the fruit sector, Chile is taking advantage of its accepted relations with supermarket chains in Buenos Aires to place its apples at high speed in their shelves. In Europe and the United States the Chileans negotiate the wholesale prices directly with the chains of the main cities.

According to a survey by Clarin, the Chilean supermarkets sell their apples for 20 to 21 pesos. There are days when 3 kilos can be sold at 21 pesos. In India, a place where the premium apple of the Upper Valley is considered a luxury, the kilo costs 35 pesos. In Spain, the cheapest varieties are worth 23 Argentine pesos, although the Fuji variety costs 66 pesos. In the national market, a kilo costs 34 pesos. An Argentinian pays, in his supermarkets, 14 pesos more than a Chilean for a kilo of apples of similar quality.

Published by FreshPlaza, Source: clarin.com

Publication date: 6/30/2017