Several organizations representing the fresh produce industry in North America are calling for supply chain relief. As part of a recent House Agriculture Committee hearing, the coalition issued a statement detailing the turmoil within the food supply chain. The group provides specific examples of the types of challenges the supply chain is having to navigate and the negative impact it is having on the industry as well as consumers. Issues of transportation are having the most profound impact, as the nature of fresh produce requires a fully functional supply chain for timely delivery.
“Almost two years since the start of the pandemic, substantial increases in costs and delays along the supply chain threaten our food security and the long-term economic viability of the North American fresh produce sector,” the letter states. “We are calling for urgent government action to address significant ongoing supply chain disruptions with impacts to our food systems, economies, and ultimately individuals and families across the continent and around the globe.”
The coalition includes groups and associations such as the United Fresh Produce Association, Western Growers, California Strawberry Commission, and the Produce Marketing Association. Together they point out the complexity of the issues and reinforce the need for supply chain relief. Substantial port congestion is having secondary impacts on the overall movement of goods. Delays are creating inconsistent product delivery, which the groups’ note jeopardizes the strength of markets moving forward. Costs for container shipping are compounding the strain, as shortages of labor and critical inputs are also taking their toll on the industry.
“We cannot emphasize strongly enough the need for our governments to work together to address these issues in a multi-lateral and holistic manner,” the groups state in the letter. “Without multilateral engagement to find solutions, these issues will create long lasting impacts to the detriment of all North American economies. These include: bankruptcies, legal disputes, industry consolidation, inflation, inaccessible food supplies, and many more.”