By Clint Thompson
India’s reduced tariffs on U.S. pecan exports is a huge win for producers in the Southeast.
“It’s a huge deal. It’s going to potentially open up another huge market that we desperately need. It may take a little while to get it going, but the first hurdle has been cleared any way,” says Lenny Wells, University of Georgia Extension pecan specialist.
India announced a couple of weeks ago that it would reduce tariffs by 70%. That will help growers who have suffered through consecutive seasons of suppressed prices. The lack of an export market is a big reason for that suppression.
“It’s been the main driving force in pushing the price down. Of course, the export market to China, we lost that in the trade war situation,” Wells said. “The lack of an export market has been a big issue for us.”
Samantha McLeod, executive director of the Georgia Pecan Growers Association, said last October the Indian market would be a “game changer” for the state’s pecan producers. Tariffs at 100% on pecans into India hindered Georgia’s growers, who produce approximately one-third of all the pecans in the U.S. Hopefully, this is the first step for growers yearning for higher prices.
“Fortunately, the industry has been doing some efforts in India to explore the market; put some feelers out there, see what the demand is and that kind of thing for the last 10 or 15 years. We’re told that there’s been pretty good demand over there. It’s just a matter of getting that tariff reduced. Now that’s happened. Maybe we’ll start to get some things moving in that direction,” Wells said.