Numbers Don’t Lie: Imports Impacting Florida Blueberry Production

Clint Thompson Berries, Exports/Imports, Florida, Top Posts

A conveyor system moves harvested blueberries to lugs.

The U.S. International Trade Commission ruled in February that imports of fresh, chilled or frozen blueberries were not a serious injury to the domestic industry. But looking at the recent research report from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, it’s difficult to see the commission’s rationale.

Mexico’s market share in the U.S. increased dramatically from 2016 to 2020. It occupied just 4.5% in 2016, compared to 11% for Florida. But in 2020, Mexico’s market share was 18%, compared to Florida’s 2.7%. Mexico’s blueberry import cash receipts were $352 million in 2020, compared to just $52 million for Florida producers.

Mexico’s import value has risen every year since 2012, an increase of 1,114% during that timeframe. By contrast, Florida’s blueberry sales decreased by 16.1%. If Florida’s market share in 2020 was comparable to 2012, its blueberry cash receipts would have totaled $127.4 million, not $52 million.

Mexico exported 112 million pounds of blueberries in 2020. That total was just 2.8 in 2010. Florida’s production totaled 22 million in 2020.

According to the report, Florida and Mexico provide 41% of the U.S. supply of blueberries from April to May.

The ITC investigation ended as a result and the commission did not recommend a remedy to the President.