California’s almond farmers are seeing huge demand from China. As the middle class grows and becomes increasingly willing to spend money on traditionally more expensive health foods, it means almonds are in huge demand. CGTN’s Phil Lavelle Reports.
It’s a huge industry in California – with 80 percent of the world’s almonds coming from that one U.S. state. And more than two thirds of those grown there end up abroad. China had been the number one export market – with a record 104.3 million kilograms exported there five years ago.
But then California fell into a persistent state of drought, which had a huge and negative impact on the state’s massive agriculture industry. Some almond farmers found themselves having to buy in water to keep their trees alive, paying exorbitant prices for something that they once got free.
Water is essential for the almond harvesting process, with one gallon being used to harvest each almond. Production dropped, yields fell and as prices rose, China lost its appetite. Spain and India became the biggest consumers. But now the drought is officially over and things are returning to normal, it seems China has regained its taste for California’s favorite nut. More than 60 million kilograms have been shipped already so far this year. With increases of around 20 percent year on year, at the going rate, China is expected to become the number one market for American almonds by the end of the year.