Southeast fruit and vegetable farmers have had a point all along. Imports of fruits and vegetables, which have long been the source of producers’ ire in recent years, have significantly impacted the domestic industry.
Produce coming in from countries like Mexico, Chile and Peru have driven down prices and put producers’ futures at risk.
It was the source of the recent Section 201 investigation by the U.S. International Trade Commission into blueberries where producers claimed serious injury to the domestic industry.
According to the USDA Economic Research Service, recent statistics show how much imports have increased over the past several years, especially in 2020.
Imports of fresh or frozen fruits totaled $15.2 million, up from $15.06 million in 2019. Imports of prepared or preserved fruits totaled $3.28 million, up from $3.07 million in 2019.
Mexico was the top exporter of fresh or frozen fruits, followed by Chile and Peru.
The financial impact is significant considering that in 2015, the imports of fresh or frozen fruits totaled $11.3 million.
Imports of fresh or frozen vegetables totaled $12.72 million, up from $11.38 million in 2019. Imports of prepared or preserved vegetables totaled $3.8 million, up from $3.46 million in 2019.
Mexico was the top exporter of fresh or frozen vegetables, followed by Canada and the UK.
Again, when compared to 2015, the financial impact of imports has been staggering. Imports of fresh or frozen vegetables totaled $8.81 million in 2015.