US trade agreement termination would cause ‘Tomato Cliff’

A study by the Nielson Perishables Group for the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas (FPAA) found that the termination of a US trade agreement with Mexico would result in huge premiums or shortages on tomatoes in the US. A group of Florida growers has requested the agreement be vacated. The report predicts that if Mexican tomatoes are excluded from the market, retail prices will rise during the December-May timeframe by 97.9 percent for hothouse round, 96.9 percent for hothouse vine, 61.3 percent for snacking, 217.2 percent for Roma and 52.1 percent for field tomatoes. Tomatoes recently became the most purchased fresh vegetable in the US, but analysts warn that a significant price increase could cool off consumers’ love affair with the tomato.