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Berries, Grapes and Avocados Lead U.S Import Increases

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U.S. imports of fruits and vegetables rose 6 percent from May 2019 through April 2020, which was led by grapes, avocados and berries.

USDA trade statistics report imports of fresh vegetables for the period were $9.31 billion for the year ending April, up 7 percent. Imports of frozen/fresh fruit were $15.08 billion, up 6 percent.

Combined U.S. imports of fruits and vegetables totaled $24.38 billion, up 6 percent from the previous year.

Imports of avocados rose 14 percent for the year ending in April, the value of grape imports increased 24 percent and berries (excluding strawberries) increased 8 percent compared with the previous year.

U.S. imports for the year from May 2019 to April 2020, with percentage change compared to the previous year:

  • Berries (excluding strawberries): $2.92 billion, up 8 percent;
  • Avocados: $2.79 billion, up 14 percent;
  • Bananas/Plantains (fresh/frozen), $2.46 billion, up 1 percent;
  • Tomatoes: $2.4 billion, up 1 percent;
  • Grapes: $1.77 billion, up 24 percent;
  •  Peppers: $1,66 billion, up 4 percent;
  • Citrus: $1.18 billion, down 6 percent; and
  • Strawberries (fresh or frozen): $1.01 billion, up 3 percent.

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Peruvian Avocado Imports are Increasing as Mexico Subsides

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Peruvian avocado exports have been largely focused on Europe during the opening stages of its season, but the industry now sees a market opportunity in the U.S.

Mexican avocado shipments are in a seasonal decline. Until now the South American country’s options in the U.S. have been limited due to heavy volumes from the world’s largest exporter. Mexico shipped 50 to 70 million pounds a week during April.

Peru is expected to be supply most of the U.S. market during July and August. The season will likely wind down in September.

Peru is expecting exports of around 360,000 metric tons (MT) this season, which would mark a 25 percent increase over last year. The country also is starting exports to Asian markets including Taiwan, South Korea, India and Japan.

Peru has significantly extended its season on the front-end due to orchards in new northern growing regions coming into production.

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Mission to Open Massive Texas Distribution Center

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A massive distribution center in Laredo, Texas, for Mexican avocados and other produce items is being built by Mission Produce Inc. of Oxnard, CAs.

Construction on the 262,000-square-foot facility began in May and is scheduled to be completed in mid-2021, according to a news release. It will shorten Mission’s replenishment time and add flexibility in managing inventory, according to President and CEO Steve Barnard.

“The city of Laredo is strategically positioned on the border of Texas and Mexico, making it an ideal location for the distribution of Mexican avocados into the United States,” Barnard said.

The distribution center will also add to third-party services Mission provides to other businesses, with versatility to include other produce. Forty docks, ripening rooms, bagging areas and pallet cooling capacity will allow the company handle any commodity.

Ample refrigerated docks and short-term storage space can accommodate third-party logistics needs to house, cool and cross-dock fresh produce imported from Mexico.

“Mission Produce’s decision to invest in Laredo speaks volumes for city’s international trade and logistics industry, which has made Laredo the number-one port in the country,” Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz said.

A M King Construction Co. LLC is building the facility.

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Florida Avocado Shipments are Getting Underway

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South Florida avocado shipments started in early June but loadings are expected to be lighter during the early part of the season, with heavier volume to come.

Shipments may be slightly down compared to last year’s big crop.

Brooks Tropicals of Homestead, FL expects the 2020-21 Florida SlimCado Tropical avocado crop to be somewhat smaller than last year’s, with a later true start date due to extremely dry spring weather.

M&M Farms of Miami reports early season volume may be off 20 to 25 percent compared with a year ago because of hot weather earlier this year.

The shipper believes a better crop will be available towards the middle of the season in September and October. Harvest of Florida’s greenskin avocado crop will continue through the end of the year and into the first quarter of 2021. The company typically ships through March.

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New Limeco of Princeton, FL started shipping in early June and plans to continue until March or April next year. Volume is expected to be similar to a year ago.

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Summer Citrus from South Africa Confirms Strong 2020 Season

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A large cargo container ship out to sea.

CITRUSDAL, South Africa – Summer Citrus from South Africa (SCSA) announces a strong 2020 season as the first vessel of the year makes its way to the United States this week.

Easy Peeler Clementines will be the first fruit to arrive this month at the New York port. More Easy Peelers and some Navel Oranges will follow with the first conventional vessel arriving in Philadelphia towards the third week of June. During peak season, containers will also arrive in the port of Philadelphia with more-or-less the same timing as the first conventional vessel. By this time, Star Ruby and Cara-Cara Oranges will also start be available.

“This year we’re expecting some of the most top quality and excellent eating quality fruit we’ve seen in recent years,” said Suhanra Conradie, CEO of Summer Citrus from South Africa. “The timing of the 2020 harvest is aligning with the recent increase in demand of citrus due to COVID-19 while offering some of the best in season citrus from South Africa.”

While challenges within the international supply chain are inevitable, the group from South Africa manages supply based on demand with its impressive team of growersimporters, local and global officials as well as logistics and marketing teams.

“In response to our retail partners’ needs based on evolving consumer behaviors, our group is at the ready to be a trusted supplier of citrus starting towards end of May through October,” said Conradie.

On Wednesday, May 27th, Suhanra Conradie will be a featured speaker during PMA’s Virtual Town Hall and will provide an update on the current citrus market and upcoming summer season.

For more information and to stay up-to-date on citrus from South Africa, subscribe to the newsletter by filling outthis form or for more information, please visitwww.summercitrus.com.

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About Summer Citrus from South Africa (SCSA)

Summer Citrus from South Africa represents a group of South African citrus growers who consolidate their logistics, marketing and sales efforts to bring the finest citrus fruit to market during the U.S. summer season. Established in 1999 and re-branded for expanded marketing efforts in 2016, the group provides Navels, Midknights, East Peelers, Star Ruby Grapefruit and Cara-Cara oranges for the U.S. market. For more information about Summer Citrus from South Africa, visitwww.summercitrus.com and visit the brand’sFacebook,Instagram andTwitter pages.

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Ag Imports and Exports Forecast Lowered by U.S. Due to COVID-19

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The export and import forecast for the 2020 financial year due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic has been revised downward by the USDA.

The forecast also reports China has told state-owned agricultural companies to suspend purchases and cancel orders as tensions flare with the U.S. over the situation in Hong Kong. The report by the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) and Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) said: “The COVID-19 outbreak has created a shock to world economies that will cause an unusually high level of uncertainty for the foreseeable future.”

The organizations cut the U.S. agricultural export forecast for the 2020 financial year ending Sept. 30 to $135.5 billion, down $3 billion from the February forecast. This is primarily due to reductions in bulk commodities including soybeans, cotton, corn, and wheat.

The forecast for horticultural exports is unchanged at $35.5 billion. Whole and processed tree nuts are unchanged at $9.1 billion, with most shipments destined for Europe and Asia.

Fresh fruit and vegetables are steady at US $7.1 billion on stable shipments to top markets Canada and Mexico. Processed fruits and vegetables are unchanged at$7 billion on steady shipments to Canada.

Meanwhile, U.S. agricultural imports in 2020 are projected at $130.2 billion, down $2.3 billion from the February forecast. This decline is primarily driven by expected decreases in imports of horticultural products.

The forecasts for imports of fresh fruit and vegetables are reduced by $500 million and $200 million respectively, as these perishable products are vulnerable to spoilage when there are delays in the supply chain.

It said these delays are “due to precautionary steps having been added to the production and transportation processes and reductions in the availability of labor.”

The export and import figures, if realized, would mean the U.S. would have its smallest positive trade balances in years, just $6.3 billion. By comparison, in 2014 the country exported $152.3 billion and imported$109.3 billion of agricultural products, resulting in a positive trade balance of $43.1 billion.

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Final Apple Report of Season Ends with Record Shipments Remaining

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A record 34.1 million(42-pound) bushels of fresh market apples remained in storage to be shipped on June 1 — a 23 percent increase from a year ago.

The final MarketNews storage report of the season by the U.S. Apple Association also showed processing apples still in storage were 28 percent more than the June 1, 2019 report, with 13.8 million pounds.

At 47.9 million bushels, the overall fresh and processing apples still in storage on June 1 was a record, 24 percent over last season at the same time and 26 percent more than the five-year average.

The association will resume its monthly storage report in November, with numbers on the new crop.

Washington has 5.9 million fresh-market bushels in regular storage and 29.2 million bushels in controlled-atmosphere on June 1.

The leading fresh-market apples in storage on June 1 were:

  • Red delicious: 8.3 million bushels;
  • Gala: 6.7 million bushels;
  • Granny smith: 5.2 million;
  • Fuji: 4.7 million bushels; and
  • Golden delicious: 2.8 million bushels.

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North America Increases Mexican Strawberry Imports by 23%, Reports Tridge

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Tridge, a global sourcing and market intelligence hub for food buyers and suppliers, has reported the latest market trends affecting the food and agriculture sector. This week the biggest news relates to a surge in demand for Mexican strawberries, which has increased its export rates by 11% since April.

In comparison to this time last year (April – June), the demand for the product in the global market has risen significantly. North America, for example, has increased its import rate for Mexican strawberries by 23%.

A similar trend has been witnessed for Mexican bananas. Despite prolonged lockdown in the country, exports for bananas have increased by 8% compared to 2019, with North America and Europe being the main export destinations.

However, Middle Eastern countries have experienced a decline in fruit imports from Mexico. This is due to a lack of air freight and trade restrictions across borders, resulting from the impacts of Covid-19.

Hoshik Shin, founder and CEO at Tridge, said: “While the impacts of Covid-19 are still impacting trade, our workforce has observed significant increases in the demand for fruits from European and North American importers.

“Weather conditions and labour shortages have affected harvest yields for some producers, meaning that importers will be looking for alternative suppliers. Using an online sourcing and trading platform such as Tridge will give buyers more options when looking for quality products at good prices.”

About Tridge

Tridge is a global trade ecosystem where buyers and suppliers of agricultural and food products can find everything they need to understand their markets with just a simple search. Using a combination of the latest digital technology and the latest insights gathered through a human network, they provide a very powerful global-scale platform for buyers and suppliers to connect and do business with each other more confidently.

Using a global network covering over 150 countries worldwide, Tridge has developed a comprehensive data set of 300,000,000+ prices and 1,600,000,000+ trade data points covering 1000+ items in the agriculture and food sector, and successfully facilitates the B2B and B2C trading of these items. Tridge aims to achieve digitalisation and globalisation of the trade industry.

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Freight Market Intelligence Consortium is Acquired by DAT Solutions

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Modern popular models of heavy trucks are shades of blue in a row on a truck stop for drivers’ rest and refueling of vehicles for the further movement for delivery commercial goods in accordance with the schedule drawn up and route

DAT Solutions, a North American online freight marketplace entered an agreement to acquire Freight Market Intelligence Consortium (FMIC) from Chainalytics Inc.

“FMIC is a subscription-based benchmarking and analysis service that leverages almost $50 billion in actual freight transactions from almost 200 companies across manufacturing, retail, wholesale and third-party logistics,” according to a news release.

DAT has $118 billion worth of global shipment data across multiple transportation modes and real-time spot-market transaction pricing. Combining this with FMIC’s intelligence and rate modeling expertise, the company will be able to develop new products, services and insights.

“More than a thousand shippers, brokers and carriers from across the globe directly contributing rates uniquely positions DAT to deliver the only near real-time view into freight pricing and global supply chain in North America. This gives our customers unrivaled logistics insight and a stunning 360-degree view of the entire supply chain” Claude Pumilia, DAT president and CEO, said in the release.

Benefits of the acquisition include a source for global freight intelligence, transportation and market intelligence solutions, access to global market analytics, a team of market experts and model-based benchmarking techniques for transportation markets.

“The combination of FMIC’s contract rate benchmarking and analytics with DAT’s spot-market data and freight matching will provide unparalleled capabilities for analytics and forecasting on the global freight and supply chain markets,” Gary Girotti, Chainalytics executive vice president of supply chain intelligence and technology products.

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A Look at the Top 5 Potato Shipping Regions

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Moving into summer the focus on produce trucking tends to be with hot weather items such as cherries, other stone fruit, and salad items. Still there are a good amount of “cold” weather potatoes still being shipped, although almost entire from 5 states.

Idaho is shipping over 1800 truck load equivalents per weeks, while the other four shipping areas are shipping a little over 1600 truck loads weekly combined: San Luis Valley, Colorado, 595; Kern District, California, 420; Columbia Basin in Washington and adjacent Umatilla Basin in Oregon, about 400 but in a seasonal decline; and finally, Central Wisconsin about 200 and also in a seasonal decline.

With a total volume of 3.9 billion pounds, Idaho accounts for 37.5 percent of the total supply, with Colorado, 15.3 percent; Canada 10 percent; Washington 7 percent; Wisconsin 6.3 percent; and Florida with 4.8 percent.
All these regions make 80 percent of the total market supply. Canada has had explosive growth in potato shipments. Last year this region only supplied 77 million pounds compared to the 387 million in 2020.

San Luis Valley potatoes – grossing about $2200 to Chicago.

Twin Falls potatoes – grossing about $5600 to New York City.

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