LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KTSM) — Recent tariffs placed on American crops being sold to China have affected American farmers. However, in Las Cruces, New Mexico, pecan farmers have started looking to other countries as potential consumers.
In 2018, China put a 47% tariff on tree nuts, which greatly affected Las Cruces, since it’s known for its pecans.
“Tariffs increase the cost of products without improving their value to the consumer. To compete with other products the cost of our product has to be reduced equivalently to the amount of the tariff,” said Greg Daviet, the manager of Dixie Pecan Farm in Las Cruces.
Las Cruces farmers were not able to sell any pecans to China this year due to the tariffs. That’s why the New Mexico Department of Agriculture has started marketing pecans to other countries, one of them being Vietnam.
“We met with some of the culinary schools where they’re training their future chefs and they knew exactly the value of pecans and the health benefits they just couldn’t get them,” said Jeff Witte, secretary of agriculture for the state of New Mexico.
The New Mexico Department of Agriculture will be heading to Vietnam this October to re-enforce its relationship. They say pecan sales to Vietnam have helped to offset the setbacks from China tariffs. However, they are confident China will be a large consumer again in the future.
“China enjoys the high-quality products that we have in the United States. Any place you go in the world they recognize that the U.S. has the highest quality food,” said Witte.
New Mexico is now the number one state in the nation for growing pecans. The state hit 90 million pounds this year.