USDA Purchases More Than $10 Million in California Table Grapes
FRESNO, CA - Grape growers are giving thanks after more than 450,000 boxes of California table grapes were purchased by the USDA as a part of its tariff mitigation program. The fruit was included in the USDA’s Food Purchasing Program for the first time due to a 53 percent tariff imposed on U.S. grapes by China.
“The 2018 season has been a tough one for table grape growers,” explained Kathleen Nave, President of the California Table Grape Commission. “The tariffs on table grapes have been painful, but the real harm has been caused by the fact that tariffs on multiple competing commodities, such as cherries, stone fruits, and apples, caused more fruit of all kinds to be sold in the domestic market. The USDA purchasing program comes at a good time for table grape growers and is appreciated.”
The most recent data from the department found that shipments of table grapes to China were down 42.2 percent in volume and 41.2 percent in value this year when compared to 2017. Suppliers who were interested in the opportunity to participate in the USDA Food Purchasing Program had to become an official USDA vendor and submit bids in a competitive selection process.
Several California companies succeeded in the bidding process and were chosen to supply California table grapes to consumers nationwide. The grapes will be shipped to food banks and other food distribution programs across the U.S. starting this month. AndNowUKnow will continue to report on the progress of the Food Purchasing Program, and the effects of this massive purchase on the tariff-torn industry.