The Terrible Tale of the Tomato

07.06.2017 • Switzerland

Olivier Perrin – The Brave Little Economist (Switzerland) –

It is one of these tomatoes at 1 € per kilo .

It took:

  • the plant , the water , the monitor , the bedding , to a tutor , the gently pickingorder not to damage it;
  • the packaging , the store , the carry over thousands of kilometers, taking care not to damage it;
  • the distribution , the put on a display , pay employees of the store and the cashier …

It was necessary to do all this before she arrived in your basket … And again, in February .

All that for a few cents : this is magic .

If you have already grown tomatoes you have to ask like me who are the wizards who operate this prodigy .

These magicians, no more than the others, reveal their tricks and you will understand why:

For this tomato that you put into your basket negligently one enslaves populations, dry whole countries , fatten mafias, asphyxia the agriculture of the more scrupulous neighbors, poison populations to pesticides …

All this for something that resembles the fruit of which it bears the name as well as its model of plastic with which my little niece plays to the merchant.

I am not talking about a local drift but a global phenomenon affecting China, Australia, the United States, Italy, Spain …

In Florida the pickers are paid 50 cents for a basket of 15 kilos of tomatoes . [1]

To make it the equivalent of a French SMIC, you have to pick 250 kilos an hour, a quarter of a tonne in 60 minutes , transport to the truck included … In greenhouses at 40 ° C.

And you, you pick how many tomatoes in an hour?

In southern Spain, clandestine workers are parked in unhealthy hangars without drinking water or electricity. They have no right to “go into town” because of the disorders they cause there … And for these slums they are extorted half of their wages of misery. [2]

The same goes for Italy … when “Italian” tomatoes are not directly imported from China . [3]

Spain is the specialist in tomatoes in bulk, Italy is unbeatable in preparations: peeled tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, boxes, sauces or concentrates: they flood the market of tomatoes made in Italy produced in Conditions that are only transformed in Italy .

This “red gold” has become the hand-setting of the transalpine mafia that is bothered less for its tomato traffic than for drug trafficking … And it does not matter that it makes infinitely more victims.

Thanks to this modern slavery, the labor force represents less than one third of the cost of production of this tomato against more than 50% normally. [2]

And to make the tomatoes grow in the winter, it was necessary to transform a good piece of Andalusian desert into a giant greenhouse … That one sees from space!

See this satellite map of Spain:

To the south, to the east of Malaga and Granada, you find Almeria.

Look at this white task under the “A” of Almeria … These are the greenhouses : 35,000 hectares of desert that have been covered with plastic . 

This desert “nature reserve” has been chosen for its sun in winter and especially for water. The Almeria region is rich in abundant ground water.

They should be drained within 10 to 15 years. Already it is necessary to draw the water at 1500 meters of bottoms to find water clean to the cultures. The upper strata were overexploited and salt water replaced fresh water.

But by then, here comes the tomatoes and strawberries on the stalls in February:

A few years ago, when these strawberries appeared, I remember asking a fruit merchant how he could have had strawberries in the middle of winter: “it’s progress my good sir” he had told me answered.

It is such a success, such a “progress” that less than 10 years later, most of the people I know refuse categorically to buy fruits and vegetables from Spain as they are disgusting .

But it did not take longer for them to invade the supermarkets to such an extent that it became a luxury to choose a good fruit or seasonal vegetable .

You might retort that life is already expensive enough!

But it is a vicious circle: by destroying French agriculture and its jobs as one destroys industry and the general economic fabric, one destroys the capacity of millions of people to live with dignity.

I am not telling you that it is necessary to put a Berlin wall between France and its neighbors to the South but a little common sense would be welcome .

In Switzerland , for example, customs duties are 5 centimes per kilo of tomatoes from 21 October to 30 April, a symbolic tax to pay for the formalities.

On the other hand, when the summer comes, quotas are imposed in order not to stifle local producers by unfair competition. Apart from quotas, customs duties are multiplied by 50 to 2.64 francs per kilo. [4]

So you can choose tomatoes tasteless in February if you like. During the summer season, the quotas allow to modulate the entry of fruits and vegetables according to the needs and the Swiss farmers live with dignity and produce nice good flavors .

And when the groundwater of Almeria is exhausted, they will stop eating tomatoes in winter and their agriculture will not be any better or worse than the French agriculture in crisis who are asked for results Magicians … By following the rules of the game .

But in Europe the idea of ​​reintroducing a customs tariff, even if it was intelligent, even vital, and win-win, is a heresy that makes you immediately excommunicated and banned from society among the new ogres And foolish fathers of “the most abject extreme right .

Mr. Macron, what better do you have to fight against Italian mafias and Andalusian slavery than a customs barrier? How will you respect the rules flouted for nearly 20 years under the complacent eye of Brussels? Will you send the army?

Or is it I who am mad: tell me here, please.

And share this message around you: this question deserves to be asked seriously.

I leave you, I’m late to transplant my tomatoes.

To your good fortune,

Olivier Perrin

-Read more at (French)-

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