It is the same old story that Florida producers have, unfortunately, grown accustomed to.
Another week, another dose of vegetable imports from Mexico that diminish market prices. Florida farmers continue to take the brunt of financial punishment.
Gene McAvoy, University of Florida Regional Vegetable Extension Agent IV Emeritus, confirmed the dire news that Mexican produce continues to flood the American market, driving down producer prices.
“The only problem is Mexico is dumping a bunch of pepper and tomato. We’re seeing in places like $5 for tomato and $2 to $3 for pepper on consignment. Break-even is somewhere north of $8.50. We’d like to get $12 to $15 a box,” McAvoy said.
“Some of our growers wonder if the fact that the blueberry decision they found against the Southeast blueberry growers, that might have given them the green light to go ahead and do whatever they want again.”
The blueberry decision refers to the verdict rendered by the International Trade Commission that imports did not do serious injury to blueberry’s domestic industry. The commission arrived at the decision despite overwhelming evidence that Mexico and other countries had garnered the market share, while Florida producers struggled to compete.
A main issue with the vegetable industry is Mexico is not simply selling produce, it is ‘dumping’ it for cheap prices.
“The cardboard box that you put the pepper in, in the United States it’s a $1.75, $1.78, somewhere in that vicinity. How do you sell that product for $2 to $3? Their boxes cost as much as our boxes, if not more, you know what I mean?” McAvoy said. “They’re simply dumping, and they get away with it.”