World cocoa bean production for the 1997/98 season (October/September) has been revised downward 1 percent to 2.72 million metric tons from the October 1997 forecast. The current forecast is 1 percent above 1996/97 and 7 percent below the record 2.94-million-ton outturn in 1995/96. The decline in the 1997/98 forecast is due mostly to lowered projections for in Cote d'Ivoire, Indonesia, Ecuador, and Papua New Guinea. Increases in Brazil, Ghana, and Nigeria were partially offsetting.
The world grind number for 1997/98 has been reduced slightly to 2.85 million tons, based on lower world production, reduced grind estimate for 1996/97, strong prices, and the financial situation in key Asian countries. The new grind number for 1997/98 represents an increase of just slightly more than 2 percent over 1996/97.
In Cote d'Ivoire, the world's largest cocoa bean producer, the 1997/98 forecast has been revised downward 3 percent to 1.14 million tons from the October forecast of 1.18 million tons. The current forecast is up 1 percent from last year, but down 7 percent from the 1995/96 record outturn of 1.22 million. The projected decrease is due to drought conditions that have reduced prospects for the latter part of the main crop and the mid crop. The August 1997 drought delayed the ripening of the main crop and reduced tree flowering for the tail of the mid crop. The October and November rains were not sufficient to overcome drought-related stress in cocoa trees and tree flowering remained low. The high cocoa bean arrivals from upcountry since the onset of the season are expected to drop below the previous year's level from March onwards. Field travel observations in January indicated that upcountry bean supplies are down from the same period last year. Pods on trees are also fewer than the same period last year, with many trees having few or no pods on them.
Mid-crop prospects are not favorable due to drought conditions upcountry. The prolonged Harmattan, northeast dry winds that occur from mid-December to mid-January, has rendered upcountry plantations completely dry. Many trees are showing signs of stress. Flowering for the mid crop is low, occurring only in areas where moisture from dew has been considerable. In many areas, flowering had barely started. Producing areas received the first rain of the year in the latter part of January. However, two to three occasions of such rains are needed to improve the situation.
The main crop of 1.03 million tons is unchanged from the October 1997 forecast, but the mid- crop forecast of 110,000 tons is down 27 percent (40,000 tons) from the first forecast made in October.
The forecast of Cote d'Ivoire's cocoa bean exports in 1997/98 remains at 1.05 million tons, despite the decrease in the crop size. Even though the 1997/98 crop was reduced, total supply in 1997/98 is higher than previously forecast based on the adjustments to the 1996/97 marketing year. Cocoa bean exports in 1996/97 were reduced to 971,000 tons, from 1.01 million tons, leading to higher ending stocks in 1996/97. Of the 1996/97 export total, about 300,000 tons of cocoa beans were shipped in bulk. Further increases in bulk shipments are expected in 1997/98.
For Ghana, the 1997/98 forecast has been revised upward 9 percent, or 30,000 tons, to 380,000 tons. The new forecast for 1997/98 is up 17 percent from last season's estimate of 324,000 tons, but 6 percent less than the 1995/96 crop of 403,000 tons, the largest cocoa crop in Ghana in 30 years. The increase over the October 1997 forecast is due to the improvement in rainfall in the major cocoa growing areas, especially in the Western region (accounting for nearly half of Ghana's total production), during the months of November and December 1997. During this time, there were occasional rains during the night and adequate sunshine during the day. There were less cherelle droppings, and more cocoa pods that developed into mature harvestable pods. As a result of the favorable growing conditions, the outbreak of Cocoa Black Pod disease has been minimal which, in turn, has contributed to the expected increase in total outturn.
The revised 1997/98 forecast consists of a main crop of 340,000 tons and a mid crop of 40,000 tons. The recovery period taken by the cocoa trees after the heavy 1995/96 cocoa crop (403,000 tons) appears to be over and cocoa trees seem to have fully recuperated. The western region of Ghana continues to lead the country in cocoa production, accounting for nearly half of the total output.
The government of Ghana (GOG) through the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has completely removed the subsidy on inputs for cocoa cultivation. The price per liter of cocoa insecticide, for the control of cocoa pests, increased from the GOG-approved price of 1,500 cedis to 20,000 cedis. Cocoa farmers complained about the price increase and made several representations about the increase and asked the GOG to review its decision on the removal of the subsidy. COCOBOD said the objective of the increase was to make the Ghana's cocoa farmer manage his farm as a business entity. The producer price of cocoa takes into account total production costs including the full unsubsidized price of insecticide, plus a margin of profit for the cocoa farmer.
Based on higher production, Ghana's exports of cocoa beans and products are expected to increase. Cocoa bean exports in 1997/98 are forecast at 330,000 tons, up from 285,000 tons forecast previously, and up 16 percent from 1996/97.
There are no immediate plans to increase the total installed capacity for the local processing of cocoa beans in Ghana. Ghana's total installed processing capacity is now 85,000 tons. With no change in grind, exports of products in 1997/98 are estimated at the same levels as 1996/97: liquor and paste, 25,000 tons; butter, 25,000 tons; and powder, cake and chocolate, 10,000 tons.
The 1997/98 forecast for Indonesia's cocoa bean production has been revised downward 6 percent, to 305,000 tons, matching the records set in 1995/96 and 1996/97. The 1996/97 estimate was also revised downward to 305,000 from a previous estimate of 322,000 tons. The decline in the 1996/97 estimate is due to both the El Nino-induced drought and damage from the cocoa pod borer, Conopomorpha Cramerella - CPB. The drought has led to smaller bean sizes with reduced quality. Despite the negative impact of the drought in the country, more bearing trees and improved management, including timely pruning, harvesting, and pest control, are expected to help Indonesia's 1997/98 cocoa bean production equal last year's output.
Improved management is expected to result from the dramatic increase in the rupiah (Rp.) based price of cocoa beans. The domestic cocoa bean prices have increased substantially during the past 6 months to Rp. 13,000 per kilogram in January 1998 from Rp. 2,800 per kilogram in July 1997. The price increase is due to both the ongoing El Nino drought and the dramatic currency depreciation of the Indonesian rupiah. Since July 1, 1997, there has been approximately an 80- percent depreciation in the rupiah against the U.S. dollar. This translates into over a fourfold increase in the rupiah-based price of exported cocoa beans. It is hoped that the increased prices will encourage farmers to improve their management practices and replant damaged or dead trees. The area planted to cocoa beans in 1996/97 was revised downward by 10,000 hectares to 420,000 as drought caused many young trees to die.
The government of Indonesia (GOI) and the Indonesian Cocoa Association continue their efforts to improve the export quality of their cocoa beans. These efforts should receive a boost if the rupiah-based export prices remain at their current levels. Previously, small farmers were reluctant to ferment their beans since there was only a Rp. 50/kg difference in price between fermented and unfermented beans. Currently this difference has jumped to Rp. 300/kg--which should provide more incentive to the farmers.
Indonesia's exports of cocoa beans in 1997/98 are forecast at 220,000 tons, just 1 percent higher than the 1996/97 level. This reflects the fact that, despite strong demand for exported cocoa beans, the current financial crisis and credit crunch is making it difficult for exporters to purchase the cocoa beans. The financial crisis will also affect cocoa product exports, as limited access to credit will slow down investment in the processing industry.
In Brazil, the 1997/98 production forecast was revised upward 5 percent to 160,000 tons, but down 6 percent from the revised 1996/97 estimate of 171,000 tons. The cocoa production estimates for Bahia's 1996/97 and 1997/98 crops have been revised to reflect more recent information. Production of the 1997/98 main crop in Bahia is estimated at 50,000 tons, down 24 percent from the previous year. The reduced projected outturn is mostly attributed to a mixed weather pattern which alternated between dry spells and heavy rains, coupled with the continuing spread of the "witches broom" fungus. It may be too early to accurately assess the 1997/98 mid-year Bahia crop (temporao: May-September) as producers are concerned with the impact of El Nino in the region. Producers have decided to use the same methodology as in previous years to promote rainfall by seeding clouds.
The government, through the Cocoa Research and Extension Commission (CEPLAC), has decided to provide guarantees for the release of US$15 million to revive cocoa areas affected by the "witches broom" fungus. This program was facing some problems because most of the small producers could not provide credit guarantees due to their prior indebtedness with local banks.
The joint program involving cocoa growers and crushers to fight the "witches broom" fungus is bringing some optimism to the region in south Bahia. Crushers, mostly multinational companies, are financing the distribution of cocoa plants that are resistant to the disease. The Government, through CEPLAC, is also distributing new cocoa strains to be grafted onto trees affected with the fungus. Most pilot grafts have been successful, but overall cocoa production will take several years to recover.
|Brazil: Cocoa Bean Production by State|
|Bahia Main Crop||99,079||66,000||50,000|
|Bahia Mid-Year Crop||101,475||84,000||90,000|
Brazil's exports of cocoa beans in 1997/98 have been further reduced to 5,200 tons, the same level as 1996/97. Brazil's exports of cocoa beans and products have continued to decline, as the result of lower crops and increasing domestic demand. Brazil's imports of cocoa beans in 1997/98 have been increased to 28,000 tons, almost double the 1996/97 level. In addition, imports of cocoa products continue to increase to meet domestic needs.
Brazil's cocoa grindings reached 14,078 tons in February 1998, down from the 14,134 tons reported for February 1997. January's cocoa grind was 15,256 tons. During all of 1997, cocoa grind totaled 178,900 tons, down about 2 percent from the 181,845 tons reported for 1996.
The 1997/98 cocoa bean forecast of 115,000 tons is unchanged from the October 1997 forecast, but down 4 percent from last season and less than half the record harvest of 240,000 tons set in 1989/90. The projected decline in production for 1997/98 is due to dry weather during the growing stages in the Tawau area and a 4-percent decline in projected harvested area.
Malaysia's cocoa industry has benefitted from the devaluation of ringgit. Since cocoa is traded in sterling, local cocoa prices have been on an up-trend since mid-last year.
The forecast for 1997/98 cocoa production has been revised upward 7 percent to 155,000 tons, the same as last season's output. The 1997/98 main-crop season was the shortest in 5 years. The main-crop harvest began late in October and was finished by late January 1998. Despite the late and erratic rains experienced in much of 1997 which were expected to lower projected outturn, Nigeria ended up with a normal crop. The revised forecast would have been even higher, but for the recurrent communal clashes between the Ifes and the Modakekes in Osun state, the second-largest cocoa producing state after Ondo. The clashes are expected to reduce cocoa bean output by about 10,000 tons. Crop quality of the 1997/98 crop is about average, but extremely humid conditions in the first month of the main crop harvest created some quality problems.
Nigeria's local processing capacity remains under utilized as crushers are finding it difficult to compete with exporters for available cocoa beans. There are reports of some processors diversifying into shea nuts processing to increase capacity.
Nigeria is the only source of cocoa beans in West Africa which operates more or less on a free-market basis, since the Cocoa Board was eliminated. This provides traders the opportunity to source cocoa beans without government or parastatal board control. Cocoa bean exports during 1997/98 are forecast at 120,000 tons, up 10,000 tons from the October estimate, but down 7,000 tons from 1996/97.
Ecuador's forecast for the 1997/98 cocoa season has been lowered from the initial forecast by 18 percent (15,000 tons), to 70,000 tons, 19 percent less than last season and 28 percent less than the bumper harvest of 97,000 tons in 1995/96. The reduction in the 1997/98 cocoa number was the result of unusual weather patterns caused by El Nino. Abnormal amounts of rainfall during the flowering stage were mainly responsible for the expected drop in production.
Mainly as a result of the lower crop, Ecuador's cocoa bean exports in 1997/98 have been reduced to 40,000 tons, down from the previous forecast, and down from the 1996/97 level. Estimates of exports of cocoa products remain unchanged from the October levels.
The 1997/98 cocoa production forecast of 42,000 tons remains unchanged from the October 1997 number, but the 1996/97 estimate was revised down 5 percent to 39,050 tons from the previous estimate of 41,000 tons. The downward revision in the 1996/97 crop was because of poor weather and to reflect more recent data from official government sources and producers' associations. Although the crop was considered average, poor handling practices at the farm level and the use of old fermentation plants continue to slow quality improvements. Tabasco and Chiapas produce 80 and 20 percent of Mexico's cocoa bean production, respectively.
Mexico is expected to continue to decrease its exports of cocoa products for 1997/98 because of improved domestic demand. Cocoa butter production for export remains unprofitable due to high domestic processing costs. Domestic consumption has improved because of the overall improvement of the economy and purchasing power of the consumer. The Mexican chocolate market is divided into 3 segments: candy, instant chocolate, and table chocolate (blocks). While candy and instant chocolate are consumed mostly by mid- and upper-income population groups, table chocolate is consumed mostly by lower income groups. Mexico continues to import significant amounts of chocolates.
U.S. exports of cocoa and cocoa products totaled a new record of $433.8 million in calendar year 1997, an increase of over 8 percent from 1996. Over 85 percent of the total is accounted for by exports of other cocoa and chocolate products. Of the exports total, Canada accounts for 47 percent, or $204 million. Mexico, Japan, Korea and Finland follow.
U.S. imports of cocoa and cocoa products increased to $1.26 billion in 1997, up over 3 percent from the previous year. U.S. imports of cocoa beans dropped, however, to 342,000 tons, down from 453,000 tons in 1996. Cote d'Ivoire remains the largest supplier of cocoa beans to the United States, followed by Indonesia. The unit value for cocoa beans rose to $1,370 per ton in 1997, up from $1,281 in 1996, which may indicate the reason for the shift to more processed imports.
The following information is from the Chocolate Manufacturers Association (CMA): The retail chocolate industry in the United States is worth $13.7 billion per year. On average, each American ate 11.7 pounds of chocolate in 1996. That's about 3.1 billion pounds total. Valentine's Day still means chocolate. Americans spend $725 million each Valentine's Day on candy, making it the fourth biggest holiday of the year for confectionery purchases, after Halloween, Christmas and Easter.
And the following tidbit is from "Fads, Folklore and Fantasies": Chocolate manufacturers use 40 percent of the world's almonds, 20 percent of the world's peanuts and 8 percent of the world's sugar. Members of the CMA use about 3.5 million pounds of the whole milk each day to make milk chocolate.
|U.S. Chocolate Products: Production, Trade, and Consumption|
|Production||Import Totals||Export Totals||Consumption|
|--------1,000 metric tons--------|
U.S. fourth-quarter 1997 cocoa grind was reported by the CMA as 99,253 tons, up 4 percent from the fourth-quarter of 1996. This brought the total grind for calendar year 1997 to 397,895 tons, up over 13 percent from 1996. Liquor melted was reported at 2,551 tons, more than double the previous year's fourth quarter of 1,554 tons. Butter melted during the fourth quarter of 1997 was reported at 13,889 tons, down 11 percent from 15,607 tons during the comparable period of 1996. Traders reported that the cocoa grind was within the range of market expectations.
International Cocoa Organization (ICCO)
On March 13, 1998, at the meeting of the ICCO, cocoa producing and consuming nations agreed to adopt a Production Management Plan (PMP). The PMP sets specific production, consumption and stock-level targets for world cocoa which are expected will raise the average price for cocoa. These targets are to be achieved in 4 years. Under the plan, production will be cut gradually, for a total cut of 257,000 tons by the year 2000/01. According to the ICCO, this would bring world production in that year to a median forecast of roughly 2,787,000 tons. Consuming countries would raise consumption to 2,780,000 tons by the same year. This would bring world cocoa stocks at the end of 2000/01 to 948,000 tons, from the current ICCO estimate for 1997/98 of 1,160,000 tons. In addition, this would reduce the stocks-to-grind ratio to 33.9 percent from the current estimated 42.2 percent.
The ICCO announced on March 2, 1998, that the final sale of 2,258 tons of buffer stocks sold in a range of $1,540 a ton to $1,694 a ton.
Brazil's Council for Coffee Policy (CDPC) has recommended coffee financing totaling 1 billion reais for the 1998/99 harvest. The financing is split into 300 million reais for the crop, 300 million reais for product marketing, and 400 million reais for maintenance and husbandry for the following 1999/00 crop. Reports indicate that the 300 million reais for the crop will be broken down into 50 million reais in April, 100 million reais in May and 150 million reais in June.
On March 26, 1998, the National Monetary Council (CMN) approved the financing of 300 million reais (approximately $265 million) for the upcoming coffee harvest. The funds will be released in April to meet the financial demand of coffee growers. The coffee harvest begins in April. The CMN also determined that each producer will be eligible for 600 reais (approximately $530) per hectare, up to a lending limit of 150,000 reais ($130,000). The term of payment will be 90 days and the interest rate will be the long-term interest rate--Taxa de Juros de Longo Prazo (TJLP)--plus 3 percent per year. The TJLP is set by the government at 11.77 percent per year for the period of March 1 to May 31.
The release of the funds will reportedly benefit coffee growers, since it will enable them to offset harvest costs, a major component of the cost structure, without selling all the product to the market, thus providing a control mechanism for the coffee supply.
Brazil continues to offer government-owned stocks through its auction system.
|Brazil: Auction of Government-Owned Coffee Stocks|
|Date of Auction||Quantity Offered||Quantity Sold||Price Range|
|--------60-kilogram bags--------||Brazil reais/bag|
|December 17 (soluble)||70,000||57,300||145.00-149.00|
|February 18 (soluble)||70,000||69,000||139.00-146.00|
|March 18 (soluble)||70,000||61,822||124.00-134.00|
Colombia's National Coffee Federation reported a change in the formula used to determine the internal coffee price. The current formula uses the lowest international price of the last 3 days to determine the internal price on Tuesdays and Fridays. The previous formula used the lowest international price of the last 10 days to determine the price each Friday.
U.S. exports of coffee and coffee products totaled a record $218.1 million in 1997, up over 8 percent from 1996. A large part of the increase is attributed to exports of instant and coffee extracts. Canada is, by far, the largest market for U.S. exports of coffee and coffee products, accounting for $114.0 million. Hong Kong is a distant second with $18.1 million.
According to preliminary results of its winter drinking study, the National Coffee Association (NCA) reported that U.S. coffee consumption was slightly lower in early 1998. The study found that the number of people drinking coffee dropped from 48.6 percent in 1997 to 47.2 percent in 1998. However, higher prices for coffee may have accounted for some of the decline. Positive factors from the study included, renewed consumption strength among baby boomers, continued consumption strength among older adults, and an increase in consumption among 20-year olds.
U.S. coffee stocks at the end of February totaled 1.7 million bags, up 291,000 bags from the January 31, 1998, level. Details follow:
|Location||January 31||February 28||Difference|
The Green Coffee Association of New York City, Inc., has changed its name to the Green Coffee Association, Inc.
(The following is from a special report from the Agricultural Office in Vietnam. It is not available electronically. For a copy of the report, please fax the division at 202-720-3799, attention Debra A. Pumphrey.)
Vietnam has become a leading supplier of coffee to export markets in a relatively short period of time. In 1997/98, coffee production is expected to total 5.83 million 60-kilogram bags, nearly 3 times the 1.98 million bags produced in 1991/92. The reason for the dramatic rise in coffee output can be traced to the early 1990's when economic reform measures that de-collectivized production allowed farmers to make their own planting and harvesting decisions. In addition, recognizing the importance of this crop to foreign exchange earnings, the government offered farmers various programs to develop coffee production. Coffee is now the second most important crop after rice. For the future, Vietnam will focus on improving that area already under cultivation and expanding the area planted to arabica coffee.
The coffee growing area in Vietnam rapidly increased in the 1990's, rising to an estimated 260,000 hectares for the 1997/98 season. Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) officials project by the year 2010, Vietnam will have about 350,000 hectares under cultivation of which about 28 percent or 100,000 hectares will be arabica. MARD 1980 data shows Vietnam had only 22,500 hectares of coffee. Over the following decade, area under cultivation, jumped five fold to 119,000 hectares.
Coffee in Vietnam is concentrated mainly in the Central Highland province of Daklak, surrounding the town of Buon Ma Thout. About 130,000 hectares or 51 percent of the coffee area is located in this mountainous region. In 1996/97, Daklak accounted for 3 million bags of coffee or about 55 percent of the 5.5 million bag crop. For the 1997/98 season Daklak's production is expected to be between 3.5 and 3.65 million bags out of the total projected forecast (5.83). Daklak has up to 200,000 hectares of land suitable for coffee production. However, concerns about rampant forest destruction and its impact on the environment, especially irrigation supplies, have prompted regional officials to call for a limit on total area of about 150,000 hectares.
Vietnam has high coffee yields compared to other producing countries. An average yield for robusta is about 20 to 25 60-kilo bags per hectare, in some of the main coffee producing provinces such as Daklak and Long Khanh province, yields as high as 50 to 70 bags per hectare are obtained. The Central Highlands are endowed with abundant water resources and high humidity. Conditions were especially favorable for the 1997/98 crop. Frost is a factor at the higher elevations, especially in northwestern Son La Province.
U.S. exports of spices (including other plants and parts of plants, fresh or dried, not elsewhere specified, but excluding capers, dehydrated onions and garlic) totaled $86.15 million in 1997, down less than 1 percent from the previous year. Canada is the largest market, accounting for 33 percent of the total. Germany, Mexico, Japan and the United Kingdom follow.
U.S. imports of spices in 1997 are $549.8 million, up $50 million, or 10 percent from the 1996 level. Imports of black pepper increased substantially, from $95.4 million in 1996, to $155.4 million in 1997, an increase of 63 percent, year to year, and accounted for 28 percent of total U.S. imports. Most of the increase year to year was the result of higher unit values for black pepper. In 1997, the average price for black pepper was $3,429 a ton; while in 1996 it was only $2,294 a ton. India, followed by Indonesia, is the largest supplier to the United States of black pepper.
Hawaii's production of ginger increased nearly 29 percent to a record 5,490 tons. The farm price dropped to 67 cents per pound, down from 75 cents per pound in 1996. However, because of the increased production, the farm value of ginger increased in 1997 to $8.1 million, an increase of 15 percent from 1996.
Almost 10 years after the initial Commission proposal, the EU
Energy Council adopted 2 common positions on proposals for
directives related to food irradiation. Under the co-decision
procedure, the common positions will now be forwarded to the
European Parliament for a second reading. Once the current
proposals become effective, harmonized rules will only apply for
dried herbs and spices.
U.S. exports of ginseng in 1997 fell again to $57.0 million, down from $65.7 million in 1996. The United States continues to face growing world production of ginseng. Of the total, cultivated ginseng root totaled $31.7 million and wild ginseng root totaled $25.3 million. Hong Kong accounted for nearly 82 percent of the total.
U.S. imports of cultivated and wild ginseng increased 5 percent in 1997 to $12.2 million. China is the largest supplier.
U.S. Tea Trade
U.S. exports of tea and tea products (including herbal tea) totaled $61.7 million in 1997, a drop of 19 percent from 1996. U.S. exports of herbal tea accounted for the decline. Canada is the largest market accounting for 43 percent of the total. Japan is a distant second with 7 percent of the market.
U.S. imports of black tea amounted to $123.7 million in 1997, an increase of 2 percent from the previous year. Argentina is the largest supplier of black tea to the United States, providing about 38 percent (about 29,000 tons) of the total of 77,072 tons, followed by China with 20 percent of the total. U.S. imports of green tea in 1997 increased in value to $13.1 million, although the quantity dropped to 4,138 tons, down from 5,778 tons in 1996. This reflects an increase in the unit value to $3,169 a ton, from $1,923 a ton.
U.S. Essential Oil Trade
Essential oils are obtained from natural raw materials by distillation or through a mechanical pressing process. These oils are widely used in perfumery, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical products, and to flavor food and soft drinks. Mint oils are used in chewing gum, toothpaste, mouthwashes and in a wide variety of confectionery and pharmaceutical products. Citrus oils are utilized on a large scale by the soft drink industry, as well as to flavor confectionery and other food products.
U.S. exports of essential oils in 1997 decreased to $588.1 million, less than 1 percent below the 1996 level. Japan is the largest market for U.S. exports of essential oils, followed by Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico and France. Note: This total includes extracted oleoresins, other concentrates of essential oils in fats, in fixed oils, in waxes or the like, and mixtures of odoriferous substances of a kind used in the food or drink industries. Of the total, mixtures of odoriferous substances accounted for 51 percent, or $302.2 million.
U.S. production of peppermint oil increased to 4,650 metric tons in 1997 compared with 4,270 in 1996 (up 9 percent), and production of spearmint oil increased to 1,090 tons in 1997 compared with 980 tons in 1996 (up 11 percent). The United States has only about 55,000 hectares in peppermint and about 10,000 hectares in spearmint, valued at $135.5 million and $28.8 million, respectively. The largest state that produced peppermint oil in 1997 was Oregon (1,589 tons), followed by Washington (1,518 tons), Idaho (980 tons), Indiana (438 tons), and Wisconsin (127 tons). Washington state (808 tons) is the largest producer of spearmint oil, followed by Idaho (77 tons), Wisconsin (76 tons), Oregon (72 tons), Indiana ( 34 tons), and Michigan (23 tons).
While the value of U.S. exports of peppermint oil and spearmint oil in 1997 increased 8 percent and 11 percent, respectively, recent market developments could adversely affect the value of U.S. exports in 1998. According to U.S. trade statistics, during 1997 the value of U.S. exports of peppermint oil was $72.9 million and the value of U.S. exports of spearmint oil was $32.6 million. Record prices of $15 a pound two years ago encouraged a glut of mint production in the United States. In addition, China is planting record hectares of spearmint, while India has increased production of peppermint. Now U.S. mint farmers are concerned because mint oil prices have fallen from the $15 a pound level to a current level of about $7 a pound.
Mint leaves are distilled into oil, with about 90 percent of the oil used for chewing gum and toothpaste. According to reports, a 55-gallon drum of mint oil can flavor 5 million sticks of chewing gum and 500,000 tubes of toothpaste. The use of mint oils in aroma therapy has been increasing in recent years.
U.S. exports of the category "other mint oils" in 1997 increased 20 percent over the 1996 level, rising to $31.6 million. The volume grew to 901 tons, from 821 tons in 1996. Quantity-wise, the United Kingdom is the largest market for U.S. exports of "other mint oils".
U.S. exports of citrus oils in 1996 were valued at $66.4 million, a drop of nearly 2 percent from 1995. U.S. exports of orange oil and lime oil dropped 7 percent and 34 percent, respectively.
The United States also imports significant quantities of citrus oils. In 1996, U.S. imports of lemon oil were valued at $30.5 million, orange oil at $26.4 million, and lime oil at $23.7 million.