Horticultural Trade and U.S. Export Opportunities
Foreign Agricultural Service, Press Release
U.S. exports of horticultural products to all countries in November totaled $974 million, up five percent from the same month a year earlier. Eleven out of 15 categories registered increases. Categories with the most significant increases in November were fresh vegetables (up $14.4 million or 17 percent), wine (up $10.0 million or 38 percent), dried fruit (up $7.9 million or 22 percent), and canned and prepared fruit (up $7.3 million or 45 percent). The category with the most significant decrease was fresh citrus (down $9.3 million or 16 percent). In November 1997, 5 of the top 10 U.S. markets showed increases. Mexico registered the largest increase (up 29 percent over the same month a year ago). The largest decrease was to Brazil (down 36 percent). For FY 1998 to date (October/November), the total value of U.S. horticultural exports was $1.98 billion--1 percent below FY 1997.
On December 16, 1997, the proposed regulation to establish a National Organic Program (NOP) was published in the Federal Register. The 90-day public comment period closes on March 16, 1998. The comprehensive regulation covers crop and livestock/livestock product production, handling, and marketing; a National List of banned and approved substances; labeling; certification of farm operations and handlers; USDA accreditation of State and private certifiers; and other administrative functions, including determination of the equivalency of imported organic foods. When fully implemented, the NOP is expected to stimulate increased production, consumption and international trade in this small but fast-growing sector.
Unfavorable weather and low market prices this seaason caused a reduction in output of processing tomatoes in selected countries. Canned tomato and tomato paste production in selected countries in 1997/98 are forecast at 1.6 and 1.2 million metric tons, down 1 and 8 percent respectively from earlier forecasts, and down 22 and 17 percent below the previous season. Stocks in most of the exporting countries are becoming burdensome and processors have lowered prices in an effort to remain competitive and maintain export market share. Selected country tomato paste and canned tomato export forecasts for 1997/98 have been reduced 6 and 8 percent, respectively, from earlier forecasts, and are 8 and 5 percent respectively below the previous seasons volume. U.S. tomato paste exports are also expected to decrease in 1997/98. However, U.S. tomato paste exports in marketing year (July-June) 1996/97 reached a record 129,000 tons, up 47 percent over the previous marketing years total. Record exports to Brazil accounted for most of this increase.
Avocado production in selected countries is forecast to increase 3 percent in 1997/98 to a record 1.27 million metric tons. Selected country avocado exports in 1997/98 are forecast at a record 218,000 tons, 8 percent above the previous years shipments. Increased exports from Spain, South Africa, and Mexico will likely more than offset lower exports from Israel. U.S. exports in 1997/98 are forecast to approximate the previous years level. U.S. avocado imports in 1997/98 are forecast at 37,000 tons, 36 percent above the previous years imports, based on expected higher imports from Mexico.
Citrus production in selected countries in the Northern Hemisphere in 1997/98 is forecast at a record 49.6 million metric tons, up 7 percent from last years harvest. Selected Northern Hemisphere country citrus exports in 1997/98 are forecast to increase 7 percent to a record 6.8 million tons, due primarily to expected larger orange and tangerine harvests in Spain and Morocco. Larger exports from Spain and Morocco will likely more than offset expected lower U.S. shipments. U.S. fresh citrus exports in 1997/98 are forecast at 1.18 million tons, 4 percent below the previous years record shipments. Although world citrus prices are expected to be lower because of larger supplies, the strong U.S. dollar is expected to make U.S. exports less competitive in Asia. The amount of oranges expected to be processed by Northern Hemisphere countries in 1997/98 is forecast at a record 16.4 million tons, 7 percent above the previous years level. More citrus is expected to be processed because of a record Florida orange harvest.
Orange juice production in the major Northern Hemisphere producing countries in 1997/98 is forecast at a record 1.29 million metric tons, 10 percent above the previous years level. A record orange crop and processing in the United States account for the record orange juice output. These large supplies and low prices will continue to challenge the marketing ability of exporters. Northern Hemisphere orange juice exports in 1997/98 are also forecast at a record, based on likely higher U.S. exports. U.S. orange juice exports in 1996/97 reached a record 104,450 tons, 14 percent above the previous years shipments. Awareness of the good quality of U.S. orange juice and private industry market promotion efforts helped boost U.S. exports.
The United States has begun exporting apples to Chile. In the wake of a recently concluded phytosanitary protocol, the first 43 boxes of Washington State Red and Golden Delicious apples arrived in Santiago on December 4. Following a temporary delay at port, due to a quarantine-related concern, the apples were released just in time for Secretary Glickman to take part in the welcoming ceremony and reception. The bulk of the 43 carton shipment was subsequently delivered to Jumbo Supermarket, the largest supermarket chain in Santiago. The public acceptance was reported to be excellent, with favorable accompanying media coverage. A 1994 GAO report placed Chile's potential as a market for U.S. fresh fruits at $16 million annually. U.S. apple sales to Chile could eventually reach $4 million per year.