The Blog:

China is Nuts for American Pecans 4/18/2011

China Agriculture- Pecan DemandThe word is out. Chinese consumers have gotten wind of the wonderfully tasting and healthy nut, the pecan. After several segments on Beijing TV and other local TV stations on the health advantages of pecans, Chinese consumers have began to expand their nut repertoire.  And where can they find these fine nuts? America, that’s where. Approximately two-thirds of the world’s pecans are produced in the United States.

Demand for American pecans in China has been so strong, that prices have nearly doubled in the last three years. According to the USDA, the average price of shelled pecans in 2007 was around $1.00/pound and last year, in 2010, prices jumped to nearly $2.25/ pound.

This increase in demand has led to a large shift in American pecan exports. As you can see in the chart, in 2005, total exports were only 30% (China being only 1% of that.) And only four years later, China grew to nearly 30% of our exports, bumping up total exports to more than 50% of domestic production.

And demand is showing no sign of waning. Total production numbers, however, have not yet began to be affected due to the nature of the pecan tree. It takes ten years for a pecan tree to begin producing any sizable amount. And even then, the trees have alternating “on” and “off” years. So as more farmers start to up their acreage of pecan trees, we will have to be patient and shell out for our favorite holiday pies and fruit cakes.

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