AgFax Almond Review: Strong Dec. Shipments; Growing Indian Market

Markets/Trade

  • Mark Jansen reports on the Almond Insights blog that December’s almond shipments totaled 148 million pounds, and would have been stronger if not for transportation disruptions at West Coast ports. Prices remain stable and January shipments are expected to remain strong.
  • TheDollarBusiness.com reports that USDA forecasts strong export potential for U.S. almonds to India, with an average growth of around 20% over the last 5 years. Sales to India for FY2013-14 valued at $380 million. “Higher income, an expanding retail industry, preference for healthy food, and changing tastes in India are reasons behind the growing demand for almonds in India.”

Production

  • Tom Philpott reports for MotherJones.com on the production of almonds in California’s Central Valley, the market incentives that have lead to the recent boom in almond plantings, and the effects of the drought on the industry and water consumption in the area. He notes that current production is unsustainable, with current ground pumping emptying state aquifers at an estimated 7 cubic kilometers a year. The combination of groundwater pumping and drought has even been described as “a slow-moving train wreck” for the region’s agriculturally dependent economy. While water efficiency has vastly improved among the state’s growers, increased production has more than offset the gains and raised serious environmental concerns – “The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, a critical engine of coastal biodiversity, stands at the edge of biological collapse.” While almonds aren’t the only source of water depletion, using only 9% of the state’s surface water irrigation network, “California’s nut industry may need strong regulation to save itself from its own thirst.”



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