America’s fresh produce industry has denounced proposed cuts set out by President Trump in his 2018 budget submission to Congress.
These include the scrapping of funding for the Market Access Programme (MAP) and the Specialty Crop Block Grant Programme, which the president describes as “duplicative, ineffective, or lower priority programmes”.
MAP funds are given to help promote fruits, vegetables and other agricultural products in export markets. A total of US$173m was allocated in 2017.
Kevin Moffat, president and CEO of Pear Bureau Northwest, said the elimination of MAP funds was “concerning”. The Bureau received US$3m from the programme this year and provided an additional US$3m from its members.
“This is a programme shown to give a very good return on the money spent,” Moffitt told The Packer.
Agriculture stands to lose billions in funding if the budget is approved. This includes a US$29bn cut in crop insurance payments over the next decade, as well as a reduction in rural development funding. Overall, the budget slashes USDA funding by 21 per cent.
The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance described the cuts as “draconian” and said they showed “a fundamental misunderstanding of what policies are needed to help specialty crop providers create their own success”.
“These programmes are investments that return far more value to the economy, job market, and agriculture sector than their cost,” SCFBA said in a statement.
“We will work vigorously with our industry partners to make sure the administration understands the challenges our industry faces so that we may work together to develop policies that help, not hurt, America’s specialty crop producers.”