E-logs for trucks expected to affect prices

Tomato growers in Mexico enjoying warm conditions

Tomato production in Mexico continues at strong levels, thanks to favorable weather conditions. Although cold weather has affected parts of Mexico in recent weeks, the major tomato growing district at this time of year is centered in the north-west of the country which is currently enjoying sunny and warm conditions. 

"Our Winter tomato production is currently taking place in Culiacan, Sinaloa," said Manny Gerardo, of Bernardi and Associates. "It has not been cold in this region. In fact, the weather has been ideal, with temperatures in the upper 80s and lower 90s forecast over the next 15 days. This is excellent for tomato production, and volume is looking good."

Florida issues puts upward pressure on prices
Growers have noted that Florida tomato production suffered a setback this year in the wake of the two hurricanes that affected the state earlier in the season. This has caused a shortage in tomatoes and subsequently saw the market skyrocket in recent months. While prices have settled back, Mexico growers are happily filling the void. 

"The season has progressed as anticipated," Gerardo said. "Florida production was impacted by the hurricanes and prices rose very high as a result to between $30-$40. In the last two weeks, prices have dropped back down and right now they are in the teens."

Roma and grape tomatoes are seeing good volume, while vine ripened tomato numbers are set to increase incrementally over the next 5 weeks. "From next week, we will see vine ripened tomatoes increase, and gradually step up week by week as major volume through Nogales starts to make an impact," Gerardo said.

Transportation also a factor for tomatoes
Last month, new regulations surrounding the use of E-Logs for truck drivers came into effect. The logs track time spent on the road as well as ensure drivers are taking the recommended breaks. It has been a time of adjustment for the agricultural industry in the United States and has been well documented for the major potato producing regions, in particular. However, the issue is clearly nationwide and is affecting tomato shipments from Mexico.

"The one big question mark for the season surrounds the E-Logs for truck drivers," Gerardo noted. "It is expected to affect the price moving forward. Already we are seeing a lack of trucks and significantly increased rates. Some of the trucking companies are not yet equipped to deal with the changes and it's becoming a problem. We will have to see how much of an impact it will bring to the industry in terms of how much costs will rise and how much will likely be passed on to the customer."

For more information:
Manny Gerardo
Bernardi and Associates Inc.  
Tel: +1 (520) 281 4011

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