The president of the Association of Small and Medium Dairy Companies (APYMEL), Pablo Villano, explained in dialogue with TN that the measure annulled the last increase, of 5%, that had come into force since October 8 from an agreement with the sector, concluded in May, with the former Secretary of Commerce, Paula Spanish.
This is because, with the arrival of Feletti, the Government unilaterally decided to freeze a price list of 1,432 basic necessities, retroactive to October 1, among which are included more than 170 of the sector. Among these, cheeses, powdered milk, chocolates, ice creams, butter, yogurts, etc. The resolution will govern, at least, until January 7, 2022.
“This measure impacts us badly, because With the Prices Cared we were already very fair, without profitability or losses in some cases. It was a sacrifice that at the time we made to collaborate, and avoid a greater evil such as Maximum Prices or limitations on our exports, as had already been done with meat. It was an agreement in which the three chambers of our industry participated, united for the first time, in something that was historic, incorporating 32 products and 12 SMEs that were not previously included ”, he recalled about the agreement signed by APYMEL, the Industry Center Milkmaid (CIL) and the Intercooperative Board of Milk Producers, and that now it was undone.
In this sense, Villano remarked that, in practice, the last update of the values of its products was in July. “Now, in addition, more things were added that were not included in the agreement with Spanish. The most delicate thing about this program is that it is not on a bounded volume, as it was in the Care Prices, which was between 12% and 15% of fluid milk, but now it would be for the total of our merchandise, or what the businesses require, since nothing is clarified about it. There are also 170 products, but the brands reached, which manufacture them, are many more ”.
They rule out layoffs and suspensions, but not a shortage
Although he ruled out that there may be layoffs or suspensions, the employer he was more cautious when asked if a shortage could be generated. “We’ll see. One part of the industry is not eager to go against it, but another is. Those who accept it will evidently work at a loss during these 3 months. It should also be noted that, with the Care Prices, there was another part that went through the wholesale channel and small stores, outside of that. That made it possible to compensate, because with fair or negative profitability you cannot buy milk or other basic supplies. But If this provision is generalized for all marketing channels, I would say that no one can respect it. Are they going to control all the channels so that it is fulfilled? That is the other issue ”.
Likewise, he indicated that for this freeze no official communicated with the SMEs to negotiate, as was done “with some large companies individually, or those grouped in COPAL, with which I understand that they did not reach an agreement either. I spoke with some who were at the meeting, and they didn’t understand anything, and that’s how they got the resolution.
Although he clarified that most of the firms reached by this provision are large, the truth is that small and medium-sized companies are also affected, even to a greater extent, since they will be forced to bid at a lower price than the most well-known brands, which are reached by this ceiling.
“If they put the first brands frozen, the second brands obviously have to mark down, because we will never be able to compete with a more expensive value. Definitely, SMEs pay the same raw material, we face higher fixed costs because we do not have as much productivity, and on top of that we have to sell lower”, Described the headline of Apymel.
And he added: “In the case of cheeses (soft, semi-hard and hard), which is basically what SMEs manufacture, between what we sell to large supermarket chains and what reaches the shelf, there are between 70 % and 100% difference. That is where there is also to negotiate ”.
Finally, it is worth clarifying that the official disposition was taken despite not reaching an agreement in the negotiation with the businessmen. In fact, the head of COPAL, Daniel Funes from Rioja, He expressed his disagreement in this regard. While the president of the Argentine Chamber of Commerce and Services (CAC), Mario grinman, assured that he had no doubts that there would be a shortage, which provoked a harsh response from Feletti.