We’re less than 10 years from importing half our fruit and a quarter of our vegetables.

The latest data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service projects a rise in fruit imports of 8 percentage points from 2013 to 2023 and 6 percentage points on vegetables.

Consequently, our horticultural crop trade deficit would rise from $12.8 billion in 2013 to $23.1 billion in 2023.

Presumably, by 2023, the Food Safety Modernization Act will be in place, and one of its jobs will be to ensure fresh produce crossing the U.S. border will be held to the same food safety standards of those crops grown inside the borders.

Buyers will be responsible for enforcing quality and freshness standards that keep imports on quality par with domestic product.

One of the U.S.’s largest trading partners is changing the landscape, in more ways than one, as Mexican produce shipments are increasingly entering the U.S. at Texas ports rather than Arizona and California. 

The Baluarte Bridge, completed in 2013, towers 1,300 feet over the Baluarte River between Sinaloa and Durango, and makes it much easier to ship product from Mexico’s western states to Texas ports, and then on to Eastern U.S. markets.

But it also should allow produce grown in eastern Mexico to better reach western U.S. markets.

If American consumers are to increase their fruit and vegetable consumption, investments in international trade will have to allow for more efficient business.

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