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Washington will receive financial support from the federal government in the US to support peach exports this year. The Washington Stone Fruit Commission has received US$250,000 to promote first time exports of peach, nectarine, apricot and jam, according to a report in Fresh Plaza.com.

The report said the money became available after the demise of the California Tree Fruit Agreement in the US Department of Agriculture Market Access Programme.

Kevin Sage-EL, horticultural crops branch chief of the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service in Washington was reported saying that most states market their peaches domestically, though South Carolina and Georgia are starting to look towards Mexico as a market.

The $250,000 is matched by the commission with money from grower assessments.

The commission will spend $160,000 promoting stone fruit – mainly peaches – on the Canadian market; $20,000 to push apricots in Mexico and the rest to Taiwan and, to lesser degrees, Honk Kong, Singapore and Thailand, said B.J. Thurlby, president of the commission and Northwest Cherry Growers in Yakima.

“The West Coast produces more white flesh peach varieties than the market needs so our goal is to push more lower acidity, higher brix (sugar) white and yellow flesh peaches to Asia,” Thurlby said.

Washington produced 14,000 tons of peaches in 2010, tying Michigan, Colorado and Texas. Leaders were California at 817,000 tons, South Carolina at 110,000, Georgia at 40,000, New Jersey at 36,000 and Pennsylvania at 21,200. Of Washington’s 30,000 tons of stone fruit, 70 percent is sold domestically, 25 percent goes to Canada and 5 percent to Asia, Thurlby said.

Source: Fresh Plaza.com and Capital Press

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