PORTLAND — Pear Bureau Northwest is planning to spend $2 million in federal tariff relief to promote pear exports to top foreign markets over the next two seasons.
USDA awarded $200 million in Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) funding last January to dozens of organizations and $100 million on July 19 to help relieve losses from higher tariffs resulting from the .
The Pear Bureau, the promotional arm of the PNW fresh pear industry, was awarded $580,000 in the first round and spent $57,000 of it in Canada. It received $1.54 million in the second round for a total of $2.12 million. It is planning to spend the money over the next two season in Mexico, Canada, India and the United Arab Emirates.
“ATP funding will help boost the USA Pears promotional program in markets that have the best growth prospects for the industry in light of the tariff impacts the industry is facing in China,” said Jeff Correa, the Pear Bureau’s international marketing director.
The money is in addition to approximately $2.8 million the bureau receives annually from the USDA Market Access Program (MAP). MAP money largely goes for point-of-sale promotions in grocery stores and ATP enables the bureau to ramp up television and social media advertising, Correa said.
The bureau is setting aside $300,000 of the ATP money to help restart its China market, anytime in the next three seasons, if China reopens to U.S. agricultural goods and tariffs diminish, Correa said.
“It would be a reset, similar to our first access with kick-off events,” he said.
Once envisioned to be a large market, China opened to U.S. pears in 2013 and peaked at 204,750, 44-pound boxes in 2014 worth $4.8 million, only to dwindle to 2,450 in the 2018-19 sales season because of China’s own pear production, imported pears from Belgium and Netherlands and then the 50% tariff imposed a year ago.
A variety of activities will be conducted in the various markets.
In Mexico, the bureau will spend two seasons working with social media influencers and partnering with Pictoline to develop USA Pears-themed infographics to enhance social media engagement with extended reach into Central and South America. This will be supplemented by two years of TV advertorials on the Discovery Home and Health channel. All of these activities will boost the effectiveness of the current consumer outreach activities in Mexico, Correa said.
The bureau will utilize Nielsen retail data in Canada to identify opportunity gaps and develop customized plans and promotions with individual retailers to improve pear sales. The bureau will also expand social media outreach and consumer events in Canada.
In India, a two-year billboard and advertising campaign will be supported for one year by a celebrity spokesperson. It will be the focal point to raise awareness of USA Pears as the premium pear in the market.
In the UAE, the bureau will feature eight TV advertorials for two seasons on "Al Moultaqa," a show that reaches over 8 million viewers. The advertorials will be a mix of recipe demonstrations, health and nutritional benefit discussions, and ripening education.
In 2018-19, Mexico imported 3.9 million boxes of PNW pears valued at $83.7 million, and Canada imported 1.5 million boxes worth $38.3 million.
Israel imported 141,150 boxes at $4.2 million, UAE imported 130,850 at $2.9 million, Colombia imported 124,800 at $2.7 million and India imported 109,300 worth $2.7 million.