At this point in time, Washington state apple growers are shipping about 20 percent less fruit abroad compared to last year. This amounts to an export level drop not seen since 2003-2004, says Washington Apple Commission president Todd Fryhover.
The boom in US online shopping -due to the pandemic- has prompted a boost in imports from Asia. But that created logistical problems. Many ships aren’t waiting to be loaded with agricultural goods at West Coast ports before heading back across the ocean with empty containers. Added to that, the Trump administration’s trade war hit apples hard.
Fryhover says countries like Serbia, Moldova and Russia have access to newer varieties: “They have [been] improving horticultural practices, and their labor is much less expensive than us here in the United States.”
Fryhover also told https://www.nwnewsnetwork.org that his organization has seen as many as 20 different countries’ labels or cartons on apples coming into India, where the US used to dominate the market. In particular, he says, many growers in Eastern European countries are concentrating on the popular Gala apples and exporting them to many countries to which the US also sells.