Apples see largest export drop in fresh category

The USDA Foreign Ag Service’s export yearbook shows fresh fruits and vegetable sales were hindered by reluctant buyers at the start of the pandemic.

Acting administrator Daniel Whitley tells Brownfield exports fell slightly, down 2 percent, and highlights the impact on apples which had the greatest decline in the category.

“Some of our exports fell to some of our key markets like Taiwan and India, and of course our neighbor to the north, Canada,” he says.  “We’ve got to right-size those markets for our apple industry and the remainder of fresh fruits and vegetable industries.”

Apple demand was largely impacted as COVID restrictions limited Chinese New Year celebrations when apples are in high demand along with a 20 percent additional tariff imposed by India increasing U.S. apple tariff rates to 70 percent.

Nearly 70 percent of fresh fruits and vegetables were exported to Canada, Mexico, and South Korea in 2020.

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