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Low prices complicate Argentine garlic sales


Low prices complicate Argentine garlic sales

"There is still a lot of garlic left to market, almost 50% of the harvest up to January"

Last year, the coronavirus outbreak forced China to curb its garlic exports, causing a shortage in the international market. This led to an increase in garlic prices and helped Argentina to dispatch its production. However, in 2021, much of the harvest is still unsold because prices are lower than expected.

“We haven't met the price expectations we had in November. We were hoping that they would recover a bit in January or February. And yes, they did recover, but we are still almost 15% below expectations. We are concerned because there is still a lot of garlic left, i.e. almost 50% of the harvest up to January,” stated Guillermo, general coordinator of Asocamen (the Association of Producers, Packers, and Exporters of Garlic, Onions, and Related Products of the Province of Mendoza).

“We have two concerns. The first one is that producers can sell all their products. If that doesn't happen, it will automatically mean there is a higher quantity of seed, which will end up increasing the supply. That greater supply will end up deepening the crisis in the sector.”

In early 2020, when China stopped selling garlic, global prices rose. “In May or June, prices increased considerably and we sold all the garlic we had left to Brazil. In fact, we ran out of garlic for the domestic market. Suddenly, when China lifted its quarantine, they got rid of last year's garlic and started selling their newest harvest. They flooded the market and cut the price in half,” Guillermo stated.

"The price of Chinese garlic had been going up, but they lowered it very aggressively in 2020 to get rid of all their stock. The Brazilian garlic enters the market in August and September. Thus, things got more complicated for the Brazilians and they also had to lower prices to be able to sell their garlic. As a result, when the Argentine garlic entered the market prices were going down,” he said.

“We hope that the price will improve a bit with some actions that Brazil is taking to stop the import of Chinese garlic, which does not pay for anti-dumping fees. We also hope that the measures that Argentina's government is creating to control unfair competition will help improve prices so that we can start selling our garlic,” he added.