Agronometrics Shorts: Extortion of lime farmers in Michoacán causes prices to Soar

By Agronometrics | 30 August 2023

The average daily prices of Limes in the US leaped by 15.08% in week 34, marking a $4.50 increase on the prices recorded on August 24, from $29.83 to $34.33. Things have turned sour in one of Mexico’s top lime-producing regions, where many growers and packers have stopped working, rather than pay extortion money to cartels — causing the price of limes to spike. A survey by the newspaper Milenio, has illuminated significant shifts in the pricing of limes within the markets of Morelia, the capital of Michoacán. The cost of one kilogram of limes has escalated from the range of 20 to 25 pesos (equivalent to US $1.19 to $1.49) to the range of 40 to 45 pesos ($2.38 to $2.68) within the previous week. This price elevation concurs with the unfolding ten-day cessation of labor activities within Michoacán’s Tierra Caliente region, an area encompassing a pivotal hub of lime production centered around the municipality of Apatzingán and characterized by its susceptibility to cartel-related activities. It is worth highlighting that approximately 80% of Mexico’s total lime output originates from the Tierra Caliente farms. Lime growers have forewarned of the potential for further price hikes if the prevailing regional conflict remains unresolved. Accounts from certain lime growers suggest that criminal entities are demanding a fee of one peso per kilogram of limes sold, equating to a cumulative levy of 1,000 pesos (equivalent to US $59.51) per metric ton. Others say they are demanding 2,000 pesos per tonne — 1,000 pesos from the grower and 1,000 pesos from the packer.

lime prices by size 40 l

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

lime prices by history 4

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

Written by: Sarah Ilyas

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