Export Markets Remain Key for Southeast Pecan Producers

Clint Thompson Alabama, Georgia, Pecan, Top Posts

With the 2020 pecan season in the books, growers in the Southeast are looking to write a new chapter in 2021, one they hope will have a better ending.

The story of this past season’s crop centered on devastatingly low prices and low morale among farmers still trying to recover from Hurricane Michael in 2018. The biggest question remains, what can be done to improve market prices? It starts with the potential export markets that need to be explored, especially since China currently remains a non-buyer.

UGA Extension Pecan Specialist

“Southeastern growers should be able to see now what their markets look like if we don’t have a large in-shell export market in play. It’s not a pretty sight,” University of Georgia Cooperative Extension pecan specialist Lenny Wells said. “I hope that we will see more efforts from some of the grower organizations in the state to take on and actively get involved in some of this export marketing work for in-shell nuts.

“I think whether we’re talking about China or South Korea or India, Turkey, even Egypt’s being talked about now; there’s a lot of places we need to be working on for in-shell export markets. That’s really where southeastern growers are going to benefit.”

Domestic Market Competition

Additional export options are needed considering the domestic market has increased competition from Mexico.

“I just really don’t see anything on the horizon that’s going to affect the volume of nuts coming in from Mexico. That competition for the domestic market is here to stay. There’s no question that Southeastern growers are at a disadvantage in that market,” Wells said.

According to the final Georgia Pecan Price Report released last week, growers are cleaning up orchards and preparing for the 2021 season. Growers are still bringing pecans onto the market. But the volume has dropped, and there is a wide range of quality.