Apr 5, 2010
04:14 PMOut of the Orchard
If it’s not one thing ...
Thank you for reading my first blog post on the new Good Fruit Grower website. I appreciate Jim Black’s generous offer to reach out to growers with this blog about what’s happening in the world of pears outside the orchard. I hope to provide thoughts and insights revolving around all things pears, from marketing and promotion, to my experiences on the road, to new and interesting trends and research.
To start, I think it is fair to say “if it’s not one thing, it’s another.” In the same week that marked the one-year anniversary of the 20% tariff on fresh pears in our largest export market, Mexico, the government of Brazil published its list of products that they plan to slap duties on, and pears had the dubious honor of making that list as well.
The Brazilian tariff is in response to a cotton case successfully brought against the US in the World Trade Organization. Brazil is our third largest pear market this year, following Mexico and Canada, and taking about 9% of our exports as of mid-March.
Brazil’s economy is one of the most robust in the world right now and wasn’t affected as severely during the recession as most of the world’s developed markets. So if their economy and currency stays strong, we don’t expect shipments to stop next season but they could be reduced by 35% to 45%.
Hopefully the tariff issue in Mexico will be resolved before next season so we wouldn’t have additional tariffs in our first and third largest markets at the same time.
The tariff in Mexico has been responsible for some of the price decreases that we have seen this year in the pear deal. Total impact on the value of the pears to Mexico has exceeded $18 million since March 2009.
Many of our elected officials in Oregon and Washington have stepped up the pressure on the administration to find a solution to the Mexico tariff and we appreciate their efforts.
On a more positive note, we have seen overall record shipments for fresh pears this season. There were 12 consecutive shipment reports showing over one million boxes moved each two-week reporting period. This was initially buoyed by strong exports this season, up 28% to date. Beginning the first of the year, the domestic market has stepped up with strong shipments in the first quarter of 2010.
The Bureau has aggressive programs in place to help the season finish strong, setting the stage for a positive start to the next season.
I hope you are receiving and enjoying our newsletters and updates. If you are not receiving them or if you have any questions or suggestions about our programs, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 503 652 9720. Thanks again for your attention.
All pears, all the time.