Harlingen, Texas (KVEO)-An initial report shows the freeze caused the Texas Fruit and Vegetable industry about $150 million dollars in sales losses, not counting citrus.
The report was conducted between the Texas International Produce Association and Texas A&M Agri-life Office. The losses could have Rio Grande Valley paying more for fruits and vegetables.
“You are talking about some punches in the face, that is exactly what our Texas farmers have faced.” said Dante Galeazzi, President/CEO, Texas International Produce Association.
In the past 11 months, Texas farmers have faced a pandemic, drought, hurricane, floods, and now freezing weather.
“We are obviously short on supply because we had that freeze, that essentially knocked out most of our crop that was in the ground.” said Bret Erickson, Director of Business Development, Little Bear Produce.
Now farmers said it is a simple case of supply and demand, as they now must bring in produce from other regions.
“That comes with a cost because now you have to factor in freight expense, as opposed to us harvesting and packing it here in South Texas, we have to truck it in.” said Erickson.
Other regions in the United States and Mexico, where produce is available prices are increasing.
“Now you will notice it is a few weeks after the event and that makes sense,” said Galeazzi. “Because it takes time in the supply chain to work it is a way through and then buyers start to finally feel less product out there and available.”
Because there is less product and more demand, it is likely residents will have to pay more.
“Grocery stores and even the restaurants they are going to try and keep the prices where they can, but ultimately as prices and the cost continue to go up that’s going to be reflected somewhere, and usually it’s the end consumer that ends up paying that difference.” said Galeazzi.
Farmers do not expect prices to skyrocket, but the increase will last for several weeks until growers in the region start to have product again at normal levels.
“Farmers have to be resilient; we have to be optimist and it’s unfortunate that it takes a disaster in one region for growers in another region to prosper, but that’s the nature of farming.” said Erickson.