WASHINGTON, March 3, 1997--U.S. exports of horticultural products to all countries in December reached $787.7 million, up 1 percent from the same month a year earlier. Six out of 15 categories of horticultural exports registered increases. Categories with the most significant increases in December were miscellaneous products (up $37.2 million or 22 percent); dried fruit (up $3.3 million or 11 percent); and wine (up $2.2 million or 10 percent). The categories with the most significant decreases were fresh non-citrus fruit (down $16.4 million or 17 percent); fruit and vegetable juices (down $8.9 million or 17 percent); and fresh vegetables (down $6.4 million or 7 percent). During the first 3 months (October-December) of fiscal year (FY) 1997, the total value of U.S. horticultural exports was $2.8 billion--6 percent above the same period last year.
Apple production in the world's leading producing countries in marketing year 1996/97 is forecast at a record 42.3 million tons, 9 percent above last year's output. China accounts for three-quarters of the increase in world apple production in 1996/97. Apple exports in 1996/97 are forecast at 4.5 million tons, practically unchanged from 1995/96 shipments. Smaller crops in some European Union (EU) countries and New Zealand have reduced export prospects. U.S. apple exports in 1996/97, however, are expected to increase 20 percent to 675,000 tons. Larger exportable supplies from western states and strong demand from leading customers have improved overall U.S. export prospects in 1996/97.
Pear production in the world's leading producing countries in 1996/97 is forecast at 5.95 million metric tons, up 3 percent from 1995/96. World pear exports in 1996/97 are expected to approximate the previous year's level. However, the Northern Hemisphere export forecast was reduced 4 percent to 695,000 tons based on smaller pear crops in the United States and the EU. The U.S. pear export forecast for 1996/97 is reduced 15 percent due to smaller exportable supplies and stronger demand for processing. Pear exports from Southern Hemisphere countries in 1996/97, on the other hand, are forecast at 545,800 tons, up 7 percent from 1995/96 shipments. Exports from Argentina, the leading exporter in the Southern Hemisphere, Chile, and South Africa are expected to expand in 1996/97.
Canned tomato and tomato paste production in selected countries in 1996/97 reached a record 2.1 million and 1.4 million tons, up 25 and 5 percent from the previous season, respectively. The increase in canned and paste production is due mainly to the larger supply of Italian tomatoes being delivered to processors--triggered by increased planted area, favorable weather, and favorable market prices during the 1995/96 marketing year. Tomato paste production in Spain and Portugal also increased significantly in 1996/97. EU processors of tomato paste accounted for almost all of the increase in tomato paste production in selected countries in 1996/97. With the exception of Chile, tomato paste production in 1996/97 declined in Turkey, Mexico, Brazil, and Greece. Exports of canned tomatoes in 1996/97 are forecast at 863,000 tons, up about 10 percent from last season, due mostly to a larger production forecast in Italy. Although tomato paste exports in 1996/97 are forecast to be down slightly, exports from 5 of the 9 selected countries are forecast to increase.
Kiwifruit production in 11 countries in 1996/97 is forecast at 984,469 tons, 5 percent above last year's level. Exports in 1996/97 may reach 635,750 tons, up about 3 percent from the previous year. Exports are expected to increase from all exporting countries except the United States and France. Exports for the United States are expected to be down due to a smaller harvest. Italy and New Zealand are the world's largest exporters of kiwifruit, with each accounting for 36 percent of selected country 1996/97 forecast exports. Chile is the third largest shipper, accounting for 19 percent.
USDA and Government of Mexico officials met on February 19 to formalize a technical agreement that will permit access to Mexico for sweet cherries produced in Washington, Oregon, and California. Exports are expected to commence with the coming shipping season, with some industry contacts forecasting eventual sales in the range of $10-15 million annually. Overall, U.S. sweet cherry exports to all destinations were valued at $123 million in calendar year 1996, with Japan being the principal market, accounting for 65 percent of that total.
For more information you may contact the Horticultural and Tropical Products Division, Foreign Agricultural Service, USDA at (202) 720-6590.