Pear and apple producers called for the implementation of the “fruit dollar”
Sectors of the regional economies that have been going through competitiveness problems for some time have demanded from the Government a differential exchange rate like the one that governed the soybean chain in September and December. All this, at a time when the Central Bank has difficulties accumulating reserves and exporters are reluctant to sell their production for $180, a dollar that they argue is not enough to cover their costs.
It must be remembered that during 2022 and with two versions, the “soybean dollar” worked for producers to accelerate crop sales, which led to requests from other sectors seeking an equivalent benefit. Just as winegrowing made a point with the demand for a “malbec dollar”, now the producers of pears and apples in the Alto Valle area of Río Negro and Neuquén with the request for the “fruit dollar”. In addition, after a strong late frost that hit between the end of October and the beginning of last November, especially in Cuyo and Patagonia districts, Sergio Massa had suggested the possibility of creating a scheme for the sector.
The objective of the fruit dollar is to prop up the value paid for this primary production that is destined for export. There, the need to have an exchange rate of around 350 pesos for each dollar obtained from foreign sales is pondered. From the Comahue fruit farms, they also ask the head of the Palacio de Hacienda to comply with announcements made last November when he assured that there would be a dollar for the regional economies.
Sergio Massa received the claim from the pear and apple growers. (REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian)
These claims were endorsed before Infobae by the Chamber of Producers of Fernández Oro de Río Negro, who also sent their request to the governor of Río Negro Arabella Carreras, along with provincial legislators and Sergio Massa himself. There, the producers requested the promotion of a special exchange rate to escape a situation of bankruptcy that brings them to receive exports at the official price set for the US currency, which governs Argentina’s foreign trade.
As they maintain, an exchange rate of $350 will allow producers to obtain a profit of up to 80 pesos per kilo, while currently -under the corset imposed by an exchange rate of $190- it is impossible for them to exceed 25 profitability weights.
In this regard, the Río Negro Fruit Contracting Table set this week a value of 37 cents per kilo of fruit obtained as the production cost of pears and apples. As was admitted, said amount is what a fruit producer in the Upper Valley of Rio Negro or Neuquén must allocate as an investment to obtain a kilo of fruit and thus not avoid going bankrupt.
The mention made by the Fruit Round Table was validated by both INTA technicians and the Río Negro Fruit Growing Secretariat. The agreement is framed by Law 3993 of 2005 on Fruit Contracting. Facundo Fernández, Secretary of Fruit Growing of Río Negro; Pablo Azevedo, Undersecretary of Provincial Fruit Growing; Sebastián Hernández, from the Federation of Fruit Producers of Río Negro and Neuquén, participated in the definition that was taken at the height of the pear harvest and shortly after the apple harvest began.
Arabella Carreras, Governor of Rio Negro
Likewise, from the Chamber of Producers of Fernández Oro de Río Negro it was stated that “regional economies must have a differential dollar for the export of their production, which surely must start from a base of 350 pesos for each dollar” obtained in the raw material export. It is recognized that there must also be “a permanent updating coefficient or variable, otherwise inflation would pulverize it in a few months.”
“The producers of pears and apples need it now – it was indicated from the Chamber of Fernández Oro – to achieve a price for the fruit to the producer that covers the cost of production, which today is 37 cents per kilo of pears and apples , plus a profit margin. In the first days of February, the first shipment of pears will leave the port overseas and for this reason, it is crucial to have a differential dollar now for the sector”, explained the entity that brings together fruit producers from Fernández Oro.
Finally, this week the problem of pear and apple producers was analyzed by the Minister of Economy, Sergio Massa; the Secretary of Agriculture, Juan José Bahillo, and the Minister of Production and Agroindustry of Río Negro, Carlos Banacloy. They agreed to work on a scheme to recover competitiveness in our exports. In this regard, the provincial official said: “It is imperative to restore competitiveness to our regional economies and fruit growing since we are in the middle of the harvest season. Compensate for the exchange rate difference. We agree with the Minister of Economy that we must return to the path of exports since they are the main source of income for our country and restore competitiveness to regional economies to strengthen their exports.
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