Demand for American pecans have been growing over the last decade with much of that growth resulting from increased exports.
However, since the onset of the trade dispute between China and the US, pecan exports to China from the US have fallen to decade lows. China was once the largest buyer of American pecans and their appetite for pecans was growing each year, as the USPGC continued marketing efforts in country.
Since the onset of the trade war demand for pecans has risen, even though the US has temporarily lost its largest trading partner. The domestic demand for pecans in the US has been on the rise. American pecan growers recently formed a federal marketing order to promote pecans and their efforts are working.
Even in the face of the trade war, American pecan growers have been able to consistently and continuously increase demand for pecans. Much of that growth has been right here at home. Turns out many American families still don’t know much about pecans. During the holidays around Thanksgiving and Christmas the pecan reigns supreme as a staple in holiday pecan pies. However, the American Pecan Council set out to educate consumers about the many other uses for pecans.
By measuring awareness of pecans against other nuts in consumers minds, the American pecan growers were able to benchmark, and ultimately increase that awareness, which has led to increased consumption. “Pecans are good for you, and we gotta get that [message] out” said one Georgia pecan grower. Getting that message out to consumers, is just what the American Pecan Council has set out to do.
The industry had relied on Chinese exports to drive prices higher and higher each year with demand from China continuing to increase year after year. Once the trade war ensued tariffs quickly made American pecans significantly more expensive to Chinese buyers, forcing them to find alternative sources. With the trade war came a 47% tariff on US grown pecans as opposed to the 7% tariff for non US pecans. The USPGC was crucial in negotiating the tariff down to the 7% low.
But not all hope is lost for US pecans to China. With the phase one trade deal negotiated and agreed upon, China is expected to purchase significantly more US agricultural products. On February 14, 2020 the phase one trade deal went into effect and on February 17, 2020 China granted tariff exclusions on 696 US goods including 150 agricultural related products.
China has been the driver behind the increased exports to Asia with an increase of 369% over last season y-t-d. Last season at this time (sept-may) the US had exported 3,494,596 lbs of pecans to China while this year for the same time period the US has exported 16,389,306 lbs of pecans.
With the 40-50 billion dollar commitment from China to purchase US agricultural products, US pecan growers have high hopes that shipments to China will increase to pre-trade war levels, and continue to grow the market.