Thomas Hoey Jr., who is a fourth-generation fruit wholesaler and importer, is issuing comment on news that Argentina may begin to put regulations in place regarding kiwifruit imports. The new rules would aim to promote local fruit production. Though the country’s kiwi industry is small and much of the kiwifruit in the country comes from other places, the national government recently unveiled plans to offer a credit line that would boost kiwi production among Argentina farmers. Government officials are also talking about putting regulations on imports in place during the local growing season.
Luis Figueroa, who is the president of the Argentine Kiwifruit Association, explains that Argentina’s kiwi industry suffers as a result of the lack of proper planning between the growers and government officials. He states, “We are learning and we believe we have achieved a technical aptitude that will allow us to produce successfully, to the extent that the economic policies of future governments accompany the decisions of growers, and economies which are very depressed at the moment.”
As it stands now, Argentina is a major importer of kiwi. However, because the country does import so much kiwifruit each year (roughly 20,000 metric tons annually), local growers have begun to realize that it may be worth it for them to try to produce more of the desirable fruit on Argentinean soil.
Figueroa notes, “The increase in production is planned in the heads of growers, but there is no organizational study that lets us know by how many acres production is going to increase. Each producer is more or less clear on what they will do, but we’re not organized enough to know what increase in planted surface area there will be in the future. Argentina is a market that consumes the product, and we believe that with other rules in the economy, we could be supplying local consumption. But, if we are in a world where the imported product ends up being cheaper than the domestic product, we have a problem.”
Thomas Hoey Jr. comments on this issue noting, “Having spent some time working with the U.S. Chamber Of Commerce’s Agriculture Committee in the past, I think Argentina can improve the market for their growers through communicating with other nations that have marketed their growers and products successfully. I was involved in this kind of forum when the Central American Free Trade Agreement came about years ago. We were successful in educating others and helping them to be more effective in their long term planning.”
While many farmers feel passionate about the need for new policies in order to help them achieve success with their own kiwifruit production, individuals like Figueroa explain that the fruit sector simply does not have the ability to catch the attention needed to make real change happen. He notes that the lack of support for farmers is becoming problematic for both producers and the national economy. In addition to the fruit industry, Figueroa explains that the meat, wheat, and dairy sectors are also suffering due to current government policies that are in place.
Figueroa explains, “We are too small a sector of the economy to be able to take measures that draw attention to our problematic situation. We are not on strike, and if we were, unfortunately, no one would know because we are a sector that is tiny in production. However, we believe that the complaints from farms are justified in almost all cases, and we also believe that regional economies are seriously affected. The fruit industry in general is seriously affected.”
Thomas Hoey Jr. comments, “This dilemma is certainly problematic and requires careful consideration from both the farmers in the nation and the government officials of Argentina. Though it may seem as though fruit farmers are a relatively small and maybe insignificant portion of the population, they do matter and they do contribute. It is important that both groups can work together to find a solution that everyone feels comfortable with and can embrace. There is clearly the demand in the country for kiwifruit, so it’s time to find a way to help Argentinean farmers meet this demand in a way that is productive and cost effective for them.”
In Argentina, the kiwifruit growing season extends from February to May; the majority of the production occurs in the province of Buenos Aires, though there are other orchards spread out among other places in the country. Other production hubs include in the area of Mar del Plata, La Plata, and in the northern zone of Buenos Aires in a province called Baradero. There is also some production that occurs in the central-northern zone known as Mercedes. In addition to this, farmers also operate in the south of Cordoba and in parts of Entre Rios and Rio Negro.
“In order to have a successful economy with people working and thriving, governments and farmers must work together. The nation needs an adequate supply of fresh produce, and local farmers need to have the ability to provide a large majority of that. It is important that the two parties communicate and find a compromise in order to ensure that both parties feel satisfied,” notes Thomas Hoey Jr.
Thomas Hoey Jr. is a successful produce importer and wholesaler who lives and works on Long Island, New York. He currently owns Long Island Banana Corp., which is a well-known, family-operated fruit business. Hoey comes from a long line of fruit merchants. His grandfather began selling fruit from a cart on the streets of Brooklyn, and ended up creating the family banana company. From there, the family’s expertise continued to grow and develop over the years. Eventually, Hoey’s uncles and great-uncles got involved in the family fruit business too. Today, the Long Island Banana Corp. operates out of a state-of-the-art facility. The goal of the Long Island Banana Corp. is to provide each customer with delicious fruit that is perfectly ready to be eaten. The facility and its high-quality technology help to make this possible.