Data Highlights Risk to US Fresh Produce Imports From Latin America

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Raging anti-government protests have engulfed several Latin American countries. An analysis of trade data in Gro Intelligence’s database shows that the four main countries involved—Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, and Colombia—are major suppliers of key agricultural products to the United States, highlighting the need for supply chain risk management.

Protests over the past two months, some of which have turned deadly, have led to the resignation and exile of Bolivia’s president and fires and looting in Ecuador. Even historically stable Chile has been forced to call a state of emergency.

Gro’s diverse data sets, including USDA GATS trade data, allow users to determine which agricultural products are most at risk of country-specific disruptions. Bolivia provides about half of US quinoa imports. Colombia provides a quarter of US green coffee imports. Ecuador and Colombia, combined, make up a quarter of US banana and plantain imports. And more than half of US grape imports come from Chile. (See import volumes in the charts below.)

Bolivia is a major supplier of quinoa to the United States (left chart) and Chile provides the bulk of US imports of table grapes (right chart). Both countries have recently seen violent anti-government demonstrations. Total US imports are shown with the blue lines. 

The trade data also shows that those countries are buyers of American feed products. Colombia in particular is a major buyer of US corn and soybean meal, which it uses in its livestock industry.

Retail price data from AMS Retail, also in Gro, shows that so far there haven’t been any price-affecting trade flow disruptions from the four countries. Banana and grape prices, for instance, have been stable and sit within their seasonally normal range. (See price charts below.) Gro users can continue to monitor prices of various agricultural products for early signals of trade issues.

AMS Retail price data in the Gro database shows that bananas (left chart) and table grapes (right chart) have so far not seen price spikes in response to violent demonstrations in several Latin American countries. The latest year’s data is shown as a blue line with markers, and is compared with previous years, represented by other blue lines. 

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