Dan Richey, president of Riverfront Packing Company, gave an update on trade issues impacting fresh Florida citrus during the recent virtual citrus Packinghouse Day meeting.
Richey, also a member of the Agricultural Trade Advisory Committee, says foreign sales are especially important for Florida citrus.
One of the biggest topics of trade conversation is the effects on the market since the UK’s departure from the European Union in January 2020. According to Richey, experts are monitoring the market closely.
“We are on that one like white on rice, trying to get the UK to accept the global acceptance of citrus canker and fruit not being a pathway to spread it, in order to open that market up to us and eliminate any of the canker requirements that we have throughout the EU,” says Richey. “It’s a good market for us. It’s not our biggest market, but it could be the beginning of a crack in the EU’s stance on that.”
Talk about China is also on the trade front, especially with the implementation of the U.S-China Phase One Trade Agreement. Although little Florida citrus is exported there, much of California citrus is moved to China. This benefits Florida because as more citrus is taken off the domestic market, additional domestic shelf space opens up.
Aside from the UK and China, the United States is also expanding its market to Vietnam. Although it is unknown if Vietnam will be a huge market for Florida citrus, it could become a great market for California and Texas, allowing even more shelf space for Florida citrus.
Gaining access to Vietnam’s market will allow for additional funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Market Access Program.
According to Richey, the impact of COVID-19 has benefited the citrus industry overall due to increased demand, attributed to the consumers’ desire for vitamin C to boost their immune systems.
“We’re set up for a good year,” concludes Richey. “We need to be smart, as always, on how we proceed as an industry.”
To view Richey’s Packinghouse Day presentation, click here.
Ashley Robinson, AgNet Media communications intern, wrote this article.