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This data product combines data from ERS, USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the World Bank. Current (2012) data provide information on which countries producing specific fresh fruits and vegetables were eligible to export to the United States as of June 2012. Also available are data on eligibility in June of 2008 through 2011 and February of 2007. Data on the absolute and relative importance of these countries in international fruit and vegetable production and trade, individually and in aggregate, are also included. The development status of the countries that are eligible to export to the United States is indicated, along with the ranking of each commodity in U.S. production and disappearance data.

Commodity Coverage

The commodities in this data product include 29 fruits and 28 vegetables for which ERS conducts market analysis. These commodities are included in the Census of Agriculture, which is published by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), and represent the commodities Americas consumed most.

Included here are only those fruits and vegetables sold and consumed fresh. This data product does not include dry edible beans nor fruits and vegetables that have been dried, canned, or otherwise processed. The Commodity Concordance Excel icon (16x16) provides detailed information on how product categories are defined in this data product compared to definitions used by APHIS, FAO and ERS in other data products. When possible, eligibility, production, and export data are presented for each commodity separately.

For more information on individual commodities, see the ERS Fruit and Tree Nuts and Vegetables and Pulses topics. In this data product, melons and olives are classified as fruit. In ERS market analysis, olives are classified as fruit and melons as vegetables.

Commodity Disappearance, Production Data, and Ranking

ERS calculates product availability or disappearance data for fresh fruits and vegetables, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and mushrooms in similar ways. Domestic production numbers are added to imports to obtain a total supply figure. The U.S. export volume is subtracted from this total supply to calculate net domestic use that is then divided by the July 1 estimate of U.S. population (including overseas Armed Forces). The disappearance data obtained this way are the per capita proxy for consumption. In the case of commodities that can be used for seed, such as potatoes, a seed use estimate is also subtracted from total production. For mushrooms, a population estimate at January 1 is used instead of July 1 to account for mushroom seasonality. For more information on calculation of disappearance data, see Food Availability: Documentation.

In the summary tables for Fruits Excel icon (16x16) and Vegetables Excel icon (16x16), commodities were ranked by their disappearance data for 2011 according to the Food Availability Spreadsheets. The disappearance numbers in each summary table represent the ranking of each commodity within the subgroup of either Fruits or Vegetables.

The U.S. production quantities for the commodities in this data product were taken from the Fruit and Tree Nuts Yearbook and Vegetables and Melons Yearbook data tables. Production quantities for 2011 were sorted and ranked to determine the relative production rank of each commodity within the Fruit or Vegetable subgroup.

Country Eligibility

APHIS is the source of data on countries eligible to export fresh fruits and vegetables to the United States. The phytosanitary requirements for each country and commodity are published as final rules in the Code of Federal Regulations (7CFR 319.56 Subpart-Fruits and Vegetables or Q56). These rules are developed throughout the year and are subject to change. For the most current information on commodities eligible to import from a specific country, contact APHIS.

APHIS publishes proposed and final rules in the Federal Register for public comment, in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act. A simplified summary of the rulemaking process followed by APHIS is presented in the chart Rule Development and Clearance Process. On June 17, 2007, APHIS announced revisions to Q56 that will simplify and expedite the APHIS process for approving new imports and pest-free areas, but do not alter how the risks associated with fruits and vegetables are evaluated or mitigated. More information on these revisions is available at the APHIS Quarantine 56 Newsroom.

The commodities eligible to enter the United States from each country are listed in the Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Import Manual, PDF icon (16x16) which covers all fresh fruits and vegetables imported for consumption. The manual also contains detailed post-harvest treatment requirements and port-of-entry and distribution restrictions for imported fresh fruits and vegetables.

It is important to note that selected commodities may be exported only from certain areas in the producing country that are certified as being free of specific pests of concern. For example, avocados from Mexico can only be exported from producers located in the state of Michoacán. The APHIS Fruit and Vegetable Import Requirement (FAVIR) provides detailed information by commodity on which areas within a country are eligible to export to the United States or are regulated differently than the rest of the country. Because there is no international source for production and trade data by region within countries, this data product uses national totals published by FAO. This implies that the statistics on the percentage of production or trade eligible to enter the United States should be considered an upper bound.

Country Classification

The term "country" in this data product refers to countries, areas, and territories that APHIS identifies as eligible to export fresh fruits and vegetables to the United States. Available FAO production and trade data for these exporters are reported to provide information on their absolute and relative importance in global markets for fresh fruits and vegetables.

FAO does not always report separate production and trade statistics for 21 eligible exporters because they are territories, departments, or another type of political dependency of a United Nations member (see APHIS - FAO Country Concordance)Excel icon (16x16). For example, French Guiana is a department of France. Data for Hong Kong and Taiwan are reported separately from data for mainland China in some FAOSTAT databases, e.g., detailed production data in ProdStat, but not others. See FAOSTAT Country Classifications for more information.

Country Income Level

Countries were identified as high- or middle-to-low income using the country classification developed and published by the World Bank (see 2012 World Bank List of Economies Excel icon (16x16)) . The World Bank classifies member countries and other countries with populations greater than 30,000 as low income, lower middle income, upper middle income, and high income based on per capita gross national income (GNI). World Bank classification criteria and data on per capita gross domestic product (GDP) from the Central Intelligence Agency's World Factbook were used to identify the income level of 12 countries-Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cook Islands, Curacao, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Montserrat, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin, Taiwan, and Turks and Caicos-not included in World Bank data.

FAO Data

Data on production quantities, export quantities and export value for each commodity and country was obtained from FAOSTAT, FAO's statistical databases. FAO compiles data from approximately 200 core reporting nations.

FAO data only include production and export quantities of 0.5 metric tons and greater and totals and percentages reflect this limitation. In the Excel files for individual commodities, a "0" for production and/or export quantity includes volumes less than 0.5 metric tons.

In a few cases, countries exporting a commodity do not produce it domestically, according to FAO production and trade data. In other instances, the quantity of reported exports exceeds the quantity of reported domestic production. These anomalies in the data could be due to transshipments or other reasons. For more information, see "Notes to the WATM" on the FAOSTAT World Agricultural Trade Matrix (WATM) page.

The percent of world production and export quantities eligible to enter the United States was calculated by dividing the sum of eligible production and exports by total world production and exports, respectively. These percentages will exceed the percentages of global production and exports that are actually shipped to the United States since countries generally do not export all that they produce and have multiple trading partners.

The median and average (mean) world production and export quantities are calculated for each commodity for all countries in the FAOSTAT database. The median-the value for which half of all values in a series are greater and half are smaller-and average-the sum of all numbers in a series divided by the total number of entries in that series-is reported for both production and exports to provide reference for the relative ranking of those countries eligible to export to the United States.

For detailed information on U.S. imports and exports, see USDA Foreign Agricultural Service's U.S. Trade Internet System. For summary information, see ERS's Foreign Agricultural Trade of the United States data product.

Other Links

World Bank, Data and Statistics contains country data derived, either directly or indirectly, from official statistical systems of national governments. Includes the World Development Indicators report and database.

USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Trade Internet System provides U.S. trade statistics on agricultural, fish, forest, and textile products.


Last updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2012

For more information contact: Peyton Ferrier