Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The 2011 Tomato Wars, Where Will They End?

So last week I was reading an article in the Jordan Times here on farmer protests regarding "plummeting" tomato prices. I get that the farmers are in a very tight place, financially. But what I would like to know is why weren't they protesting the outrageously high prices they were getting paid back last year. You remember in September when heat waves and pests killed off the crops? Back when instead of JD .50/kilo we were paying JD 3.00. Okay, it may not have been quite that large a difference, but I'm certain it wasn't much better. And the quality of the tomatoes was awful. Instead of protesting that prices were too high or reducing their prices, farmers then were happy all the way to the bank, no?

What really smarts, though, is that the farmers have only one person to thank for rock-bottom prices... themselves. The article mentions that farmers "encouraged by the higher prices" planted extra stock. Then with the warm winter, they grew lots and lots and lots of tomatoes. Well, duh. Overabundant supply leads to decreased prices. So, let me ask you, why are they protesting? Unless they are protesting against themselves. I hope that the Jordanian Farmer's Union will take the following lessons from this experience...

Train your members that when times are good, they need to save for a rainy day. Teach them also that overplanting will lead to lower profits not higher. Because in the end, farming (like consulting) is a feast or famine world. If you don't save for a rainy day, don't come crying when the floods start...

Happy ketchup-fodder!


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