Imported fruits and vegetables are quite controversial for Florida’s agriculture sector; squash and cucumbers are no exception to the rule. That is why Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried made a testimony to the US International Trade Commission last Thursday, following up on previous warnings about berries and bell peppers pushed out of the market by lower priced foreign produce.
For Florida, squash and cucumbers are just two of the farm commodities suffering because of competitive advantages for Mexican farmers. Of Florida commodities, 20 of 24 saw market share decreases since 2000, and more than half saw a doubling share for Mexican imports. COVID-19 accelerated pressures from the import side, with imports continuing to surge in.
In her remarks, Fried described the “devastation” caused by “unfair foreign trade practices going unchecked,” causing an “economic fallout that has wreaked havoc” on the sector.
According to floridapolitics.com, Florida cucumbers offer one example of how foreign pressures have devastated the Fresh from Florida imprimatur. In-state producers controlled 19% of the domestic market in 2000, but by 2020, held just over 4% of market share. Production tumbled also, even amid a 75% increase in demand.
Photo source: En.wikipedia.org