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  • redpepperking

Stop Dumping and start selling

Good morning and happy Wednesday. The picture is evidence that controls of markets does not work. This picture was taken 2 years ago in Mexico of tomatoes that could not be sold and were dumped. This is food waste to the tenth degree, and you can thank the Florida tomato growers, the United States government and the commerce department. The reason they could not be sold is that in the United States we have a control price on tomatoes via the suspension agreement. Mind you Mexico is the only country that has this restriction , which of itself is unamerican. A little background, the suspension agreement was imposed because Florida tomato growers used a dumping claim on Mexican growers saying that tomatoes were being sold below cost. For those of you who don’t know, I have been handling about 25 items for the past 20 years and an additional 20 items for the 10 years preceding and EVERY ONE of those products were sold below cost at one time or another, it is the nature of the produce business and a supply and demand market of a perishable commodity. The real story is Florida tomato growers had the market captivated and held the lion’s share of the business, they rested on their laurels and made no investments or improvements. On the other hand, the Mexican growers invested to the point that their product was superior and gained market share to the point that hurt the Florida growers and it is at this point they cried foul. I would also like to point out that these poor Florida growers are not small family farms, they are large family corporations that also grow tomatoes in Mexico and only looking to benefit themselves buy controlling a larger segment of the supply. Plain and simple this is GREED, don’t be fooled.

The Florida growers in conjunction with the commerce dept are looking to raise the minimum price that tomatoes can be sold for in this country or they will exit the suspension agreement and pursue the dumping claims against Mexico and implement a tariff on every load that comes into the United States. In my opinion the current minimum price of $8.30 for a 25-pound box of tomatoes is already too high and agreeing to raise it would be foolish on the Mexican’s growers’ part and I believe it will not solve the problem. I would let the USA exit the suspension agreement especially if the tariff is 17% or less and let the market dictate the correct price for produce as it has always done and has been very efficient over the years. I bleed red, white and blue but this is wrong. Let the markets decide the right price for the produce we grow here, and we import from other countries. The supply and demand markets make all the necessary adjustments when it comes to price quality and availability and no government, company or person can change this and we should stop trying to put artificial constraints on our markets because it just does not work. Mexican growers you are on the right side of this, stay strong.

On a secondary note when it comes to food waste as I have said many, many times before retailers have to get on board with selling produce according to the natural ebb and flows of the growing cycles, not a pre-determined price for much of the year. Let’s use Roma tomatoes as an example but this pertains to all produce items. All those tomatoes that you see that were dumped had to be sold for $8.30 fob. Freight to the East coast, the furthest distance about $3.25, which lands them at a delivered cost of $11.55. Now when you went to the supermarket how much were they a pound? Probably $1.99, which brings back $50 a box. This is why we have much of the food waste, large retailers, with some exceptions forgot or never learned how to sell fresh produce. Many more tomatoes could have been sold for $.99 a pound moved more volume and less shrink. You know the best way to reduce shrink???? SALES! Read the “Produce Manifesto”


RED PEPPERS- Yes of course we have them, and they are short going into the Easter holiday. I don’t see this market getting cheap for a while. There is no significant volume coming until we start in Coachella or if we get a flush in the green house varieties.


GREEN PEPPERS More volume in Florida and starting to harvest in Coachella which will bring prices down.

GREEN AND YELLOW SQUASH It’s growing like weeds start promoting.

CUCUMBERS – Spring crop increase in supplies, market is steady at 10.95 12.95 on Supers.

EGGPLANTS – The markets are trending lower $7.95 /10.95

ROMA TOMATOES. Currently 9.95/10.95 some are asking $12.00 but new harvesting begins around the 15THwhich should put pressure on the market

Have a great Week!

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