Imports of tomatoes by U.S. tomato imports was unchanged in 2017, while Mexico continues to be the dominant supplier, although imports from Canada are increasing….Meanwhile, further plunges in citrus shipments are seen in years ahead.
Total fresh tomato imports in 2017 amounted to $2.177 billion, down 4 percent from 2016. Volume of all U.S. tomato imports came to 1.78 million metric tons, unchanged from 2016..
The USDA reports imports from Mexico accounted for 85 percent of the value ($1.842 billion, down 6 percent from 2016) and 90 percent of the volume (1.612 million metric tons, unchanged from a year ago) of tomato imports.
Canadian Tomatoes Increase
Imported tomatoes by the U.S. from Canada were up both in volume and value. U.S. imports of Canadian tomatoes in 2017 were $312.9 million, up 13 percent from 2016. Volume of Canadian tomatoes shipped to the U.S. was 165,400 metric tons, up 7 percent from 2016. Canada represented 14 percent of the value and 9 percent of the volume of total U.S. tomato imports.
The Dominican Republic and Guatemala shipped lesser tomato volumes to the U.S., together accounting for less than 1 percent of total U.S. tomato imports.
Citrus Decline is Predicted
Noticeable decreases in Florida’s citrus shipments are projected to be an issue for U.S. citrus over the next 10 years, according a new report from the USDA’s long term projections issued in mid-February.
Over the next decade, fruit, tree nuts and vegetable shipments are forecast to increase at a modest 0.6 percent annually, when measured by farm weight.
Citrus, however, will suffer declines in shipments during the next decade, plunging from 17.49 billion pounds in 2018 to 14.04 billion pounds by 2027, a drop of 20 percent.
“While the value of production is expected to grow over the next decade due to higher prices, citrus production continues to decline slowly over the projection period, primarily due to loss of bearing acreage in Florida and the spread of citrus greening, a citrus disease spread by insects for which no cure currently exists,” the USDA report states.
The report said citrus greening has the potential to threaten the “entire citrus industry if not closely monitored.”
The USDA said declines in citrus production are projected to be offset by increases in non-citrus fruit.
The value of U.S. fruit, vegetable and nut production will top $65.8 billion by calendar year 2027, up from nearly $52 billion in 2018. The value of production will grow about 2.7 pecent per year for fruits, nuts and vegetables. Of the total value, fruits contribute nearly 40 percent of the total value, tree nuts 18 percent and vegetables 42 percent.