Despite the lingering challenges presented by COVID, it appears that overall almond shipments remain strong. Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO, Ryan Jacobsen said it has been a bit of a mixed message for the almond industry over the past 18 months. Prices have been less than ideal for producers, as almond volume has remained abundant. However, Jacobsen noted that all-in-all, there is an optimistic outlook for almonds with demand keeping shipments moving at a good pace.
“We haven’t necessarily seen the price rebound I think a lot of us would like to see but shipments overall are still looking strong. It’s probably being driven by the lower prices across the market,” Jacobsen explained. “But the fact that we are still seeing records broken month after month it seems like, is a good thing. Domestic shipments are up; so, we’ve got a market here domestically that’s definitely strengthening.”
The pandemic initially threw trade markets into turmoil, with supply chains having to adapt to a vastly different landscape. Port delays have continued to be a problem for the agricultural sector throughout the pandemic. Some of the transportation challenges remain, but conditions have slowly been improving. If demand continues to be robust, it should help keep demand high as transportation issues begin to be resolved. “I would look at it from more of an optimistic standpoint. Consumers are still clamoring for almonds,” Jacobsen noted.
ALMOND PRICES REMAIN UNCERTAIN
Demand continues to keep almond shipments moving, but there is a big question of price moving forward. Jacobsen explained that a multitude of uncertainties is creating some amount of concern. Almond prices have taken a downturn during the pandemic. The sizable California almond crop that is expected could compound the issue of prices. Nevertheless, Jacobsen remains positive that prices will ultimately improve moving forward.
“Hopefully, as we get through some of these challenges getting our products to these foreign markets that we’re going to see a strengthening in price before the end of the year,” said Jacobsen. “I don’t think we’re going to go necessary back to $2.50 a pound immediately, but I think there’s some optimism that we’ll get north of $2 long-term.”