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Mexico: Softer tomato pricing expected to stabilize again in near future

Tomatoes are in full production out of Northern Mexico. "We've been in production for probably the past four weeks," says Raquel Espinoza of Produce House, noting it started its spring production around mid-April and we'll probably go until the middle of July."

The season began on time, and Produce House hasn't changed its acreage this season. Along with its Roma program, it has a round tomato program that is slightly delayed this year. "Usually, we start in April so we're about a month behind and we're starting our round program this week," says Espinoza, adding that this program should wrap up around the same time as the Roma program.

As for demand, it's been very good. Espinoza notes that this year it included a winter program with Roma tomatoes which is a change given it used to be a spring deal that went from April to July. "This past season we started in late December, and it was a phenomenal deal because there was a need in the market for it," she says. "During that time frame, markets were high into the $20s."

Recent pricing trends
This spring, the markets have also been good and are between the $12-$16 range. "It was probably not until sometime this week that, because of the warmer weather that we have seen, there's higher production in the northern area of Sonora so the markets are starting to trend downward."

That said, the market is expected to stabilize in the coming weeks. "They'll find their level and we'll maintain that until something happens," says Espinoza. "They seem to auto-correct themselves and I don't see that we will have an oversupply. I think it's just a week where everybody is coming into full production."

Espinoza notes that this year there has generally been a short supply in the market. "Because of that, the markets have been way above minimum and the national market in Mexico has exceeded our expectations in demand," she says, noting that the premium pricing seen in Mexico for tomatoes grown in Mexico, is something she hasn't seen before. "When there's an oversupply, we always find outlets whether they're in Mexico or outside for export or into Canada. This year we've seen a shortage so I'm not sure where we would have gotten our tomatoes if it hadn't been for Mexico."

For more information:
Raquel Espinoza
Produce House LLC
Tel.: +1 (520) 281-8943
[email protected]