Exports of fresh fruit and tree nuts through September 2010 have increased for new crops of grapefruit, lemons, almonds and pecans compared with the same time last year.

Despite the forecast reduced in domestic production, grapefruit has experienced a 3-fold increase in exports early into the 2010/11 season, with export volume in September increasing to 12.3 million pounds, from 4.9 million the same time last year. Japan is the main destination of grapefruit shipments accounting for 62 percent of September’s exports, while Canada accounted for 20 percent.

Lemon exports are up 15 percent compared with this time last year. Canada and Japan are the top 2 markets for fresh lemons accounting for a combined share of 56 percent of total lemon exports through September 2010. China rounded out the top 3 with 3 million pounds shipped in the last two months.

U.S. frozen concentrate orange juice (FCOJ) has ended the 2009/10 season in September with total export volume for the season up by 45 percent compared to last season. Belgium was the number one market for U.S. FCOJ, accounting for 36 percent of total export volume. The Netherlands and Saudi Arabia represented 25 and 12 percent of the market, respectively.

U.S. exports of fresh peaches (includes nectarines) and strawberries are posting gains for this season compared to last. Peach exports were up almost 14 percent, while strawberries are close to an 8 percent increase over this time last year. Pecan exports, for the 2009/10 season ended being up 8 percent from the previous season.

Hong Kong remained the number one export market for U.S. pecans, with 49 million pounds. The large harvest last year aided the increase in exports. This upcoming harvest will be similar in size, forecasted at 271 million pounds. The ample size of the 2010/11 harvest will aid in the continued strong exports of U.S. pecans.

Majority of fresh fruit imports up

Imports are up through September for many fresh fruit. Orange imports are up 14 percent mostly from South Africa, Chile and Mexico. Much of the increase can be attributed to the offseason products entering the U.S. market when major domestic supplies of fruit are not available. South Africa and Chile accounted for close to 30 percent of U.S. fresh orange imports.

Banana imports rose 18 percent over this time last year. This season has so far been clear of adverse weather conditions, so supplies are up in major banana-producing countries in Central and South America compared to last year when poor weather affected most of their production. With the increased supply and lower prices, banana imports are on the rise for the season. Guatemala remained the No. 1 supplier of fresh bananas to the United States for 2010 with 1.95 billion pounds.

Lighter supplies of apples at the beginning of the new season, resulting from lower domestic production, partly contributed to a 40-percent increase in fresh apple imports. Chile exported 25 million pounds to the United States, representing 48 percent of total U.S. apple imports. Grape imports are also up this season through September. Mexico experienced a large crop and has exported over 325 million pounds of grapes into the United States since May 2010, representing 91 percent of total U.S. grape imports.