Predictions for fresh produce imports compared with a November forecast are increased in the latest fiscal 2019 trade estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. However, it keeps the estimate for fresh produce exports at about the same level.
U.S. imports of fresh fruit in fiscal 2019 (year ending Sept. 30) are projected at $13.7 billion, up $600 million from both the November estimate and fiscal 2018 imports. Trade statistics from the USDA revealed October-November U.S. imports of berries (excluding strawberries) totaled $623 million, up 25 percent from $498 million the same period the previous year.
Imports of fresh vegetables are projected at $8.4 billion for fiscal 2019, up $100 million from the previous estimate and slightly higher than U.S. fresh vegetable imports of $8.36 billion in fiscal 2018. For October and November, the USDA reported U.S. imports of fresh peppers totaled $210 million, up 8 percent from the same period the previous year. Value of fresh tomato imports in October and November totaled $374 million, up 3 percent from year-ago levels.
Meanwhile, fresh fruit and vegetable exports, at $7.4 billion, are forecast unchanged from the November estimate, according to the USDA, and up from $7.29 billion in fiscal 2018.
USDA trade statistics show that U.S. apple exports in October-November 2018 were $151 million, down 26 percent compared with $202 million for the same period the previous year.
Whole and processed tree nut exports are pegged at $9.1 billion, also unchanged from November’s estimate but up from $8.76 billion in fiscal 2018.
Processed fruit and vegetable exports are unchanged from the previous forecast of $7.2 billion and are up from $7.03 billion in fiscal 2018.