( The Packer )

There is an old saying, “You can’t win for losing.

It means, I think, that you can’t win if you keep losing (see K-State basketball this year), if circumstances always conspire against you.

U.S. fruit exporters must feel that way right now. 

Just when China is ready to pare back some of their retaliatory tariffs, the worrisome expanding coronavirus appears to be escalating fear and bringing unwanted trade consequences everywhere.

I asked the LinkedIn Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group this question:

What kind of impact will the coronavirus disease have on the global produce industry in 2020? What is the best case and worst-case scenario?

Here are excerpts from the discussion, tagged with the initials of commenters:

PM: Best case it ends, Worst case we are all dead and we are produce fertilizer LOL. :);

DC: Love the comment.... but with the low mortality rate of the coronavirus worst case scenario will be 3% of the population dead so is bad if you are in there but not enough to fertilize much produce around the world;

JP: Producers that have a portion to China or a lot to China will have to divert to other markets. Countries that have used China as a supplier may need to find other sources. So, say, Canada will have to buy more garlic from California and Spain and fill in the lack of supply from China. Grapes that normally might go to China will seek space in other markets including the USA. Worse case, if this is the tipping point for China and the go-go years are over, we will see robust Chilean cherry ads from Christmas to St. Valentines Day.

 Product in the pipeline, both chill and frozen, has tied up a tremendous amount of refrigerated ocean containers, that are not being emptied and returned. Container yards in China and other far east base ports are filled to capacity with plugged in containers, sailing schedules have been altered and empties are not returning. Like after any disruption, say, because of typhoon, tsunami, earthquake or port strike ...it takes a while to catch up.  So best is we catch up in 5-6 weeks and the worse is container supply is not back in place before northern hemisphere exports start.  

NB: Well, it looks like it will cause a big hit to CPG sales.....see this article.

ND: WHO has released their concerns for food safety contamination especially where Corona virus is prevalent. Corona Virus lives much longer on surfaces than suspected. It is not just about economy alone, health if definitely the biggest risk read their published update



TKARST: The World Health Organization link above is worth keeping handy, and refers to how the virus is spread (food not shown to be a vehicle of transmission). If panic over coronavirus hits the U.S. in a big way, it certainly will be a test of all our systems, including the perishable supply chain. 


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