Baking raisin crop price set
In an effort to help boost shipments of Zante currant raisins, the Fresno-based Raisin Bargaining Association has negotiated a $1,000-per-ton field price for the 2006 Zante crop, a 24 percent drop from last year's price.
A decline in domestic home baking and shrinking European markets due to larger European crops have put pressure on domestic raisin growers, according to the RBA.
The RBA represents more than 2,000 raisin growers bargaining for price and terms of delivery with independent raisin handlers. California's San Joaquin Valley is one of the primary growing raisin producing regions in the nation.
Zante currant raisins are a highly specialized product mainly used in the bakery segment of the domestic and export market place. The more common seedless raisins for eating, produced from the Thompson Seedless variety of grapes, represent more than 95 percent of the annual California raisins crop.
About 3,000 tons of the Zante currants are produced in California each year, compared with about 400,000 tons of the Thompson-derived variety.
The United States and Turkey, the world's second-largest producer, together account for more than 95 percent of production among the major northern hemisphere producing countries, and generally, about 80 percent of global production. The United States is the world's largest exporter of raisins.