California Tree Nut Outlook: Record Exports Expand Global Demand Base

By Tanner Ehmke

April 2021

Key Points

  • California tree nut growers harvested record-large crops of almonds, walnuts, and pistachios in 2020, following a year of ideal growing conditions on expanded bearing acreage.
  • The combination of lower nut prices and a weaker U.S. dollar have pushed exports to record-high volumes. This comes despite ongoing retaliatory tariffs in importing countries like China and India, and shipping logistics complicated by container shortages.
  • Despite improved exports, a surplus of almonds is expected at the end of the 2021 crop year as sharp supply growth exceeded demand growth.
  • Bearing acreage will continue to expand in years ahead. To handle future record crops, the sector will need to invest in shelling and hulling capacity and processing.
  • While tree nut growers and handlers are expected to struggle with low prices through 2021, the payoff is coming. Consumers around the globe are adding nuts to their diets, which will boost demand and propel export momentum.

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