U.S. to Continue Imports Horticultural to Grow Despite Economic Concerns Growth over the coming years may not be as strong as the previous two decades, but the market is set to remain attractive to many shippers.
by TAD THOMPSON
T he United States market looks set to continue to import rising levels of fresh fruit and vegetables. The value of imports is expected to remain on its upward trend in 2023, driving total horticultural imports to surpass a major milestone, according to a recent USDA report. And further into the future, as key Latin Amer- ican production countries continue to ramp up production, a huge amount of that extra volume is poised to be sent to the market. Throughout history, the fresh produce industry has overcome many ancient challenges. As previous hurdles were cleared, new problems that were unfathomable 50
years ago now flourish in modern daylight. Nowadays, fresh fruit and vegetable grower-shippers must consider global market saturation, economic trends, developing consumer tastes, environmental concerns, deadly pan- demics, currency exchange rates, military invasions, international trade barriers and certainly crop conditions in competing fields and orchards — not only across the fence — but on the planet’s far side. Since the beginning of time, across the globe, agricul- tural production has always been a gamble. Even today, rain, drought, wind, freezes, insects and disease lurk as possible disasters for all crops. But in perishables, time is
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