Jeff Smith noon, March 8
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Border News Translations 10: Massive Tortillerías Closures
Tijuana, 2/24/2011 Speculation on the price of corn flour and a possible increase of 100% on the price per ton for the commodity, could lead to potentially unbearable increases in the price of tortillas, closures of tortillerías in Baja, and the loss of many jobs.
Members of the masa and the tortilla industry in Baja pointed out that in Ensenada alone, as many as 5000 jobs may be at risk. In the city of Ensenada there are about 117 tortillerías; the city of Tijuana has 800; and in Mexicali, there are 400-500 registered establishments
Reportedly, in 2010 the price per ton of corn flour was in 3,400 pesos (approx. $283), but it has now increased to 6,400 pesos (approx. $533). In 2007, it was only 2,200 pesos/ton (approx. $183).
Local area masa and tortilla business owners want to meet with political leaders of the municipalities of Ensenada, Tijuana, and Mexicali, and de la Secretaría General de Gobierno (SGG) and Desarrollo Económico (SEDECO).
It was emphasized that local Baja masa and tortilla manufacturers do not receive federal or state subsidies like large companies such as Gruma and Minsa, together estimated responsible for as much as 90 percent of corn flour production in Mexico. Local manufactures also said, these companies (Gruma and Minsa) offer products of bad quality at a price low, thanks to grants received from the federal Government, while local manufacturers of the masa and tortillas don’t have the same economic benefit.
Since 2007 tortillerías have maintained a package price of tortillas at 12 pesos (approx $1) each on average, but with possible increases, the price may increase to more than 15 pesos (approx. $1.25).
The increased cost of corn meal is considered due to the loss of crops in Sinaloa and Tamaulipas, which received lower than expected rainfall. The two states are considered the largest corn producers of region.
Source: El Linea Tijuana