In Mexico, the price of tomatoes has sky-rocketed by 400 percent, while eggs (sold by weight) have risen by 20 percent. Tomatoes now cost almost 70 Mexican pesos (USD 5.77) per kilo in some Mexico City supermarkets, while they can still be had for 22 pesos (USD 1.81) per kilo at street-side stalls. This is according to a survey done by the  Chamber of Commerce of Small Business, Services and Tourism of Mexico City (CANACOPE). Enrique Guerrero of CANACOPE said on May 6 that the price of eggs, a staple in the diet of the poor, had risen by 20 percent since the beginning of this year, while there have been widespread increases in the price of vegetables of between 20 to 30 percent.

According to CANACOPE, the price of eggs is now between 34 and 40 pesos in grocery stores, but had been at 25 pesos earlier this year. The price had stabilized, following a spike of 60 pesos per kilo caused by an outbreak of avian influenza in the state of Jalisco. Producers were forced to destroy their eggs and thousands of chickens in order to prevent any further spread of the disease to animals and humans. Mexico resorted to importing eggs from the United States, adding to the price hike.
According to Mexico’s Secretariat of the Economy (SE), earlier this year the maximum retail price of the white eggs was 28 pesos per kilo, but by the first week of May sold at 32 pesos. However, surveys by the Federal  Consumer Protection office (CJF) noted that on May 3 packs of 18 white eggs are were sold at 41 pesos at self-service retailers in the capital.
Speaking for the CANACOPE, Guerrero suggested that buyers should be aware that self-service retailers sell eggs by the dozen or in other configurations, and not by weight.  He added that price increases for eggs have been matched by increases for tomatillos, tomatoes, onions, peppers, squash, chayote (mirliton squash), which have gone up by 20 to 30 percent. According to Canacope, tomatillos went up 400 percent since early this year. At Mexico City’s main markets, the Central de Abasto and La Merced, it has gone up to 30 pesos per kilo since the middle of April.
The Secretariat of Economy reported that tomatillos sold for 4.50 pesos per kilo at the Central de Abasto Iztapalapa, but by the first week of May had reached 18 pesos. According to the agency, tomatillos were retailing at 67.50 pesos at self-service supermarkets in Mexico City as of May 3.  Roma-style tomatoes went from 7.20 pesos in January to 10.03 pesos per kilo in May (a 39.3 percent increase), although the SE notes that at supermarkets they sold for up to 19.90 pesos.
(TomatilloPhysalis philadelphica)
Other essentials for the Mexican grocery cart saw significant increases. Onions were selling at 7.37 pesos per kilo in January, and rose to 10 pesos by the first week of February. They have since dropped to 3.50 pesos in May, even while SE says that they are selling at 19.90 pesos per kilo in supermarkets. Chile de arbol, a pungent pepper used in Mexico’s famed piquant sauces, cost 13.67 pesos in January and now cost 26 pesos: a hike of 90 percent. 
Speaking for small businesses, Guerrero said that such price increases are causing a crisis for consumers and also has an impact on vendors. 
At the current exchange rate, one Mexico peso equals 0.08 U.S. dollars, or 8 cents.



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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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