Latin American fresh produce exports to US rising

Overview of resh produce imports in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on October 28, 2022. 

Produce imports into the United States have been growing and now account for roughly half of the country’s total consumption.

And Latin America’s share is growing led by USMCA partner Mexico accounting for around $38 billion or over 74% of the country’s total exports to the U.S. as reported in WTO (World Trade Organization) figures. But other Latin American countries (LACs) like Chile, Peru, and Brazil are planting the seeds for a larger slice of the U.S. produce import market.

According to the USDA (United States Agricultural Department) estimates published in May, imports from South America in FY 2022 are projected to rise $2.2 billion from the February forecast to $20.1 billion. Imports from Brazil are expected to increase $900 million from the previous estimates due to greater expected sales values of coffee and beef products, while Chile (up $200 million), Colombia (up $300 million), and Peru (up $600 million) are expected to supply more agricultural products than were forecast back in the February report. The USDA expects increases in the imports of poultry, cut flowers and nursery stock, coffee, and fresh fruit from those countries to buoy the total.

The rise in LAC fruit and vegetable exports to the U.S. is attributable to a number of trends. According to “Rural Migration News Blog 203”, published in February 2021 by The University of California-Davis. “The share of imports is rising for many fruits and vegetables due to higher U.S. incomes that support a year-round demand for fresh produce, healthier eating, and freer trade with countries that export fresh fruits and vegetables.”

The Cal-Davis report notes that the top five fresh fruit imports accounted for three-fourths of the $14 billion of all US fresh fruit imports in the fiscal year 2019. This is led by $3.3 billion worth of berries, $2.7 billion in avocados, $2.2 billion worth of bananas, grapes with a value of $1.6 billion, and $800 million in pineapples.

The value of berry imports rose the fastest over the past decade, while the value of banana imports fell. As noted above, Mexico provided over half of U.S. fresh fruit imports by value in 2019, exporting fresh fruit worth over $7 billion, followed by Chile, $1.8 billion, and Guatemala and Peru, $1.2 billion each. Peru had the fastest growth in fresh fruit exports to the US, led by fresh blueberries. Peru’s volume has certainly increased since 2019.

all commodities volumes 3

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

Chile and Peru

Chile’s success in grapes and stone fruit production and exports led to extended product lines, including but by no means limited to avocados, mangoes, citrus, and berries. Success in northern Chile extended to similar production in Peru, which enjoys advantages that have made Peru the emerging young, roaring lion in the global fruit trade.

Mark Greenberg, president, Capespan North America Inc., based in Montreal, is among those marketing fruit imported from Chile and Peru.

Greenberg indicates Capespan will import Chilean table grapes and stone fruit, as always. But “We will focus…

grape volumes by origin 10

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

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