Fresh fruit imports, exports both rise

09/12/2012 03:28:00 PM
Tom Karst

U.S. fresh fruit exports have enjoyed a 10% gain in the first seven months of 2012 while fresh fruit imports are up 8%. On the other hand, both exports and imports of fresh vegetables were flat or lower than a year ago, according to government trade data.

Of total U.S. fresh fruit export sales of $2.77 billion, statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show that U.S. apple exports from January through July totaled $535 million, up 5% from the same period a year ago. Organic apple exports showed strong growth, totaling $54.7 million for the period, up 147% compared with the first seven months of 2011.

Orange exports for the period were $465 million, up 8% from a year ago, while U.S. strawberry exports of $231 million were up 2%.

Meanwhile, U.S. fresh fruit imports for the January through July period, excluding bananas and plantains, were $3.8 billion, up 8% compared with the same period a year earlier. Avocado imports of $493 million through July were off 3% compared with year ago levels, while pineapple imports of $298 million were up 9%.

Grape imports of $722 million were up 8% in the first seven months of 2012 compared with last year, while blueberry imports of $197 million were up 9%.

Banana and plantain imports totaled $1.2 billion, up 5% from the same period a year ago.

U.S. fresh vegetable exports for the January through July period were $1.3 billion, down 6% compared with a year ago. Lettuce exports of $159 million were off 4% compared with a year ago. Exports of fresh potatoes from January through July were off 7%, with onion export sales down 11%.

Imports of fresh vegetables tallied $3.78 billion through July, virtually unchanged from the same period a year ago. Greenhouse tomato imports through July were $790 million and off 2% from a year ago. Field grown bell pepper imports were $157 million, up 43% from a year ago.



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