The vast majority of ginger imported into the US originates in China. Smaller quantities are imported from Brazil, Costa Rica and Peru. “We import ginger from Brazil,” says Andre Ziani with New York based Aiden Produce. “First of all, Brazilian ginger has a superior quality to Chinese ginger. The country has an excellent climate for root production and the ginger has a shiny and unblemished skin with a good size,” shared Ziani. “Secondly, I know the Brazilian market best.” Brazilian ginger also differentiates itself from Chinese ginger in the cleaning and handling stages of the value chain.
Low prices result in reduced acreage
The Brazilian ginger season starts with baby ginger in May that is harvested until June. Conventional ginger harvest starts in July and ends in December. In 2017, Brazil’s ginger production is expected to decrease compared to 2016. “Although we have the capacity to produce more, low prices in 2016 have caused some farmers to cut down on planting,” mentioned Ziani.
Another ginger supplier to the US market is Peru. “Peruvian ginger is organic with an excellent quality,” said Ziani. “Both Peru and Brazil cannot compete with China when it comes to price, but the quality of Brazilian and Peruvian ginger is far superior,” shared Ziani. “There is a market for people who want quality and for people who want price.”
Organic ginger from Brazil. Photo by Aiden Produce
Organic ginger from Brazil available soon
At the moment, Brazil exports conventional ginger only, but Aiden Produce will soon offer organic ginger that is able to compete with Peruvian organic ginger. “We hope to start with organic ginger this year as we have obtained the USDA Organic Certificate.”
Peru grows organic ginger for US market
“Most of the Peruvian ginger differentiates itself as it is organic,” says Luis Orrantia with Tropical Specialists. “The majority of ginger sourced from China and Brazil is the conventional type and it is much bigger in size. Ginger from Peru is smaller and has a stronger flavor which makes this product unique.”
Peru’s ginger season is slowing down and the crop is finishing. “We will have two more months at the most,” mentioned Orrantia. It was a tough growing season with a lot of rain, but supplies were large enough to meet demand from the US market.
Pallet with ginger from Peru. Photo by Tropical Specialists
Reduction in ginger importers from Peru
“The market for ginger is very competitive,” shared Orrantia. “A few big importers used to bring in organic ginger from Peru, but US demand wasn’t able to keep up with the increased supplies. As a result, I am seeing the number of importing companies being reduced,” said