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I live in the Sacramento Valley, why is produce from China cheaper?

by tom44 on November 2, 2013

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Question by : I live in the Sacramento Valley, why is produce from China cheaper?
I am in the heart of the most agriculturally productive valley in the world: The Sacramento Valley. We produce fruits, nuts, vegetables, etc. So why is it that all of my produce is imported thousands of kilometres from China?

How can this be cheaper than my neighbor selling it to me?
If it’s not safe, why is it sold at WalMart?

Best answer:

Answer by Lisa B
First, you may well find cheaper produce from your neighbors at farmer’s markets, and you should, because it will be safer and more environmentally conscious.

But in answer to your question, the United States, and California especially, has laws protecting labor from severe exploitation. China does not. So in China agricultural workers and processors get slave wages. It is the labor cost that makes much of the difference. (Taxes make some difference also.)

The price you pay is that you do not know how safe the produce really is, and whether the environment was severely damaged by its production.

Try to buy California grown produce whenever you can, even if it is a little more expensive.

Edit: In answer to your question, safe is relative. Many people in the US have gotten ill from supposedly “safe” produce. Buying from a known local source is always safer.

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2 thoughts on “I live in the Sacramento Valley, why is produce from China cheaper?

  1. whatquestions says:

    Other countries don’t have the regulations or the standards of quality that the United States has, and Walmart doesn’t give a hoot about destroying the economy, as long as they get rich doing it. They can exploit labor in other countries like they cannot here in the US.

    Buying local as much as possible will help build jobs and keep money in the community. It is worth the cost, if you can afford it.

  2. A Hunch says:

    Actually, I would be REALLY surprised if that was true. China does not grow a lot of “fresh” type fruits or vegetables (things like tomatoes, peppers, cauliflower/broccoli, strawberries, melons, etc are not grown there). I do believe that a lot of the produce you are purchasing from Walmart is being shipped from Mexico, Central America & South America.

    I don’t know why it is “cheaper”. Probably something to do with being able to access HUMONGOUS amounts from a single establishment.
    Or it might be that the “types” of fruits and vegetables grown in the central valley are not the type that are normally consumed fresh.

    I also know a lot of the agricultural products are consumed in the US.
    – FreshExpress and the other lettuce packages are from California
    – Heinz canned tomatos are = you can see the tomato pull up to the cannery in OakDale and go through the canning process
    – Hershey’s says that all the almonds are from the central valley.

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