“In 2017 over 55 percent of all fresh fruit available to U.S. consumers was imported. And while just under a third of the total supply of fresh vegetables in the U.S. came from overseas, that proportion had doubled since 2002, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic research Service.” The article goes on to quote a Cornell Professor: “What an increase in imports does is it brings food products into a country so consumers have access to more things, and the same things at lower prices. As a society we should embrace more imports of fruits and vegetables.” CCM wonders how this professor would feel if this abundant supply of fresh produce was used as leverage for government policies as domestic producers leave the field of play because of competitive disparity?
One NY squash producer found Mexican sourced squash in local markets when NY producers were at peak season. Why? “Retailers will say they like local, but if the price is cheaper, they rearrange their priorities quickly.” The Report summary concludes by stating the increase in imports has been driven by the cheaper labor and production costs in countries like Mexico, and consumer demand for a robust, year-round selection of produce that people have become accustomed to having. As the NY squash producer noted the definition of counter seasonal is expanding creating competitive challenges a domestic producer cannot overcome.