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Prices of banned vegetables tumble in the retail sector

SANTO DOMINGO. In the month of April, the prices to retailers of some fruits and vegetables have tumbled considerably. Such is the case of salad tomatoes, which has seen their price reduced between February and April 2015 from RD$29 to RD$21.47 per pound, a reduction of 26%, according to statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture.

The salad tomato is one of the 18 fruits and vegetables included in the list of items, whose export to the United States was banned last March because of the presence of the Mediterranean fruit fly (medfly) in the Dominican Republic.

If a comparison is made with 2014, in February, when the tomato was priced at RD$27.32 a pound, and presented a reduction of only 8.4% for the month of April, when they cost RD$25.02. Regarding these reductions there is a difference of 18 percentage points between one year and the other.

Regarding these changes, the president of the Greenhouse Cluster, José Miguel do Peña Jimenez, said that the yearly reductions are the result of price fluctuations, but he confirmed that the price reduction this year is the result of the ban of the product entering the United States market.

Bell peppers, another of the products affected by the medfly has fallen in price since February of this year from RD$38.25 to its current price of RD$28.29 in the month of April, which is to say a reduction of 26% in its price.

In 2014, bell peppers only fell in price by 16% to retailers. During the month of February they were sold at RD$45.52, and in April the price was RD$38.33.

Nevertheless, according to De Peña Jimenez, consumers have not benefited from this price reduction. “The prices to the consumer are not going down, there is a lot of distortion in the market, none of the State institutions are intervening in the market, permitting savage capitalism,” he complained.

The collapse of the prices to retailers in comparison with previous years is notable in fruits such as the sapota. During 2014 it presented an increase of 2.5%, selling for RD$24. 86 in the month of February, and then increasing its price in April to RD$25.49.

This year, in the month of February, the sapota at a price to the retailers of RD$23.90 and during the last month, contrary to the increase in 2014, this fell by 7.5%, costing RD$22.12.

The ban in the US

As a result of the ban imposed by the United States, only seven Dominican farm items have been part of the prohibition of exports to those markets, but this ban considerably affects producers of the country. According to the Minister of Industry and Commerce, José Del Castillo Saviñon, the loss caused by the situation represents US$61 million.

José Miguel de Peña says: “The markets are cyclical, but the ban is an atrocity, the producers are going bankrupt.”

Source: DiarioLibre

May 12, 2015

Category: DR News |

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