The price of limes skyrocketed earlier this year, and consumers grumbled. Now prices have plummeted, which is even worse news for growers.
The farmers in the south of Yucatán state have decided not to harvest citrus because sale prices aren’t good enough to cover production costs.
In March, consumers were affected when the kilo of the citric reached 60 pesos (USD $4.54) but, in the beginning of September, the price plummeted to 2 pesos (USD $0.15) per kilogram, and has about 11,000 producers in the state at the verge of bankruptcy.
A tour of the citrus area, which covers about 23,000 hectares, mainly in Oxkutzcab, Akil, Tekax, Dzan and Ticul, reveals the despair of producers, who are not even cultivating their lime plantations.
“We water the plants for about six hours a day. So the two pesos per kilo we are being paid for our limes aren’t enough to offset the cost of electricity plus gasoline,” said a grower from Oxkutzcab.
According to the producers, intermediaries are paying 15 pesos for a box of 20 kilos of lime, or less than 1 peso per kilogram.
The members of the Association of Fruit Producers from the south of Yucatán say there is an overproduction of citrus, so the 20 kilogram box is being sold at $15 pesos to the distributors in the supply centers of Oxkutzcab and intermediaries are reselling it at $30 or $40 pesos in the major supply centers of the city.
Additionally, the entry of lime from the states of Veracruz, Puebla and Mexico City has forced them to reduce prices because it is not a controlled product.