Argentine national labor body sets limit for daily blueberry harvesting

January 06 , 2017

“This amount just touches half of what is harvested in the high season,” says a Concordia blueberry industry representative. 

One of Argentina’s leading regional blueberry industry groups has cried foul over a new determination for daily harvests per worker, in a move that is expected to damage competitiveness overseas. 

Omar Chiarello

Omar Chiarello

Late last year, Argentina’s National Agricultural Work Commission (CNTA) responded to a request from the Rural Workers and Stevedores Union (UATRE) by determining 25kg (55lbs) constituted the right minimum level for a day’s work.

The new determination was published in Resolution 236 on Dec. 29, in contradiction to a level of 40kg (88lbs) set by the Federal Administration of Public Revenue (AFIP) just one day prior. 

“This amount just touches half of what is harvested in the high season, in the months of October and November for example, and adhering to this decision would simply mean being left out from the competition international markets,” said Blueberry Producers’ Association of Mesopotamia Argentina president Omar Chiarello in a release.

Chiarello explained the rate of 40kg per day set by the AFIP was more in line with the industry average, and reducing the limit would further affect a sector that was already hit by low purchasing prices last year.

“With this new measure from the national government, the rebound that was hoped for this year would sink,” he said. 

An Argentinean Blueberry Committee (ABC) spokesperson told the measure applied to the whole country’s blueberry sector, and her organization – like APAMA – rejected the CNTA’s decision and was in conversations with the Ministry of Agro-industry.

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