USApple: Apple Exports Down Nearly 30%
According to the U.S. Apple Association, apple exports dropped 27% from 2017 to 2018. That announcement came Thursday during the organization’s annual Crop and Outlook Marketing Conference in Chicago.
USApple officials said due to growing trade tensions and escalating tariffs from top export countries, the overall farm gate income for U.S. apple growers fell 16%, or $588 million, year over year. The Agriculture Department’s Trade Mitigation Program purchased $83 million of fresh apples according to Agricultural Marketing Service officials.
“The past 12 months have seen trade quickly emerge as an issue that’s immediately impacted our bottom line,” said USApple Chair Kaari Stannard, president of New York Apple Sales and a grower. “Mexico and Canada purchase nearly half of our apple exports, good for a contribution of nearly half a billion dollars per year toward a positive trade balance. We need—we must have—continued free access to those markets.”
According to the USDA, 253.1 million bushels are expected for the 2019 apple crop, making it the 9th largest crop since the government department began reporting apple production in the 1940's.
“With exports and income down significantly, and a large harvest already beginning, these numbers express the dire need to resolve the trade conflicts as soon as possible,” said USApple President and CEO Jim Bair. “There is not a day to delay.”
The industry continued the trend to adapt to consumer preferences by increasing production of Gala and Honeycrisp, which is expected to overtake production of Granny Smith with the 2019 crop. If the current trend continues into 2020, said Seetin, Honeycrisp could even move ahead of Fuji to third place in overall production.
The 2019 top five produced apple varieties, according to the USDA:
2) Red Delicious
5) Granny Smith.
“Red Delicious, while still an important apple variety, particularly for the export market, continues to lose share to other varieties,” said Seetin. After more than 75 years as the top grown apple in the U.S., Red Delicious was dethroned last year by Gala.
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