May 27, 2022 12:44 pm

Lettuce increased to an unprecedented price

After last week the price of a kilo of tomato became a record price, almost like a kilo of meat, reaching $500 in greengrocers, now His inseparable companion of the classic salad joined this move: lettuce, which in recent days also reached that same value.

The reason is simple: high temperatures and frequent power outages for irrigation of days gone by meant that, like the rest of the leafy vegetables, a large part of the production was burned. With more than 44º they did, they estimate that between 20% and 30% of the production of leafy vegetables in the fruit and vegetable chain of Mar del Plata was lost.

In this context, If temperatures return to normal and electricity cuts disappear, in approximately 30 days the prices could be accommodated again: This is the growth time that a plant needs, for example lettuce, since the seedling is placed in the ground and harvested.

In Mar del Plata, a box of lettuce in the field was paid around $600, while this week in the horticultural cordon of La Plata, up to $1,800 a box was paid

It is worth remembering that many of the horticultural productions are seasonal, So greenhouses are planted and if the temperature outside is 42º, inside the greenhouse it can reach 55º.

In dialogue with LA NACION, Ricardo Velimirovich, producer and president of the Fruit and Vegetable Association of Producers and Allies of General Pueyrredón, indicated that the reality is that, Added to the heat wave, the cuts in some regions of the 11 thousand hectares that represent the entire Mar del Plata fruit and vegetable chain, meant that many producers could not irrigate.

“The producer is always blamed but he is the only one who always loses, because when there is a lot of production on the farm they pay little and, chen there is no production like now, although more is paid, behind that value there is a lot of production loss, where it is necessary to plant again. That represents more costs for horticulturists. Last week a kilo of lettuce was paid $20 in the field and not even the investment costs were recovered”, he pointed.

“Some producers were able to irrigate the lots and saved part of the production, but others lost everything. That is why different varieties are planted to diversify the risk and be able to continue in the activity. Otherwise there would be many broken and melted producers”, he added.

Another of the difficulties they had, said the producer, was that although it rained yesterday, the water that fell did so in a short time: “That meant that instead of hydrating the soil as a slow rain would, it dragged and surely many of the new seedlings will have to be reseeded.”

For its part, Damián Simonetti, who is part of an association of producers from La Plata, indicated that the Climate factor is always crucial for fruit and vegetable productions. “Aside from logistics costs and other purely commercial issues that influence the price, the blow of the extreme temperatures caused the plants to be ruined, there was little to harvest and therefore there was a lack of merchandise to market”, He said.

“It’s supply and demand. Speculation on the part of producers does not exist or is possible here because it is perishable merchandise. If there is not, more is paid but that does not mean that the producer has more profitability because part of what he lost will have to be replanted”, he added.

Coinciding with his colleague, he explained that when there is an abundance of production and there is leftover lettuce, the producers have to throw it away and nobody cares about that. “In November lettuce was being thrown away because when there is overproduction, the price they pay us is so low that it is not convenient to harvest or market it. The harvest is by hand and that is expensive for us”, he pointed.

Finally, Simonetti commented that There are no statistics or data on how much is produced in the sector. “It is a fruit and vegetable market with few controls and there is a lot of production that the State does not register and therefore cannot be evaluated”, finished.

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