U.S. citrus imports grew significantly during the third quarter of the year while volumes of other key fruits during the period such as avocados and bananas saw declines, according to the USDA.
Total imports of fresh citrus between June and September this year rose by 20 percent over 2019 to $682 million. Easily the largest increase in citrusy came from mandarins with imports soaring by 55 percent to $225 million.
Both Chile and Peru were responsible for the dramatic increase. Both have seen strong growth in soft citrus volumes in recent years. South Africa and Uruguay also increased shipments. Limes and oranges both rose by 10 percent to $134 million and $123 million, respectively, while lemons saw a 3 percent decline to $95 million.
Limes came almost entirely from Mexico, while the increase in oranges was driven by South Africa and partially offset by a decline from Chile.
Meanwhile, avocado imports experienced a huge decline of 26 percent to $531 million during the quarter. This decline was driven both by Mexico, whose volumes fell by 24 percent to $424 million, and Peru, whose shipments fell by 22 percent to $102 million.
Chilean imports in the third quarter last year were $20 million, just $1 million. Colombia, meanwhile, managed to roughly double its shipments from 2019 to $4 million. Banana imports fell by 7 percent to $457 million, driven by Guatemala’s volumes falling by 9 percent to $220 million.
Costa Rica and Ecuador saw declines of 11 percent each to $91 million and $43 million, while Honduras saw a 15 percent increase to $41 million. Blueberry imports remained stable at $183 million, with a sharp increase from Peru offset by an equally sharp decrease from Canada.