As the official state tree and namesake ingredient in the state pie as well, the pecan occupies a special place in Texas. Although the state is one of the top producers of pecans, the nut’s success in one key international market has been more difficult to crack.
Tom Benning and Katie Leslie, both Washington bureau reporters for the Dallas Morning News, reported that high trade tariffs on pecan imports to India have prevented the nut from gaining success there. Benning says that the problems of the pecan industry are rooted in the fact that pecans are grown in many states, not just in Texas, whereas other nuts like almonds, pistachios and walnuts, are grown in California, and have a more unified industry presence.
Benning says India’s high tariffs on pecans caught the attention of Sen. Ted Cruz, who was informed of the problem by Kevin Ivey, a pecan farmer near El Paso and president of the U.S. Pecan Council. Due to the great success the pecan has had in countries like China, the industry sees India as the next big market. Benning says that unlike most lawmakers, Cruz seemed genuinely interested in Ivey’s suggestion to look deeper into the issue.
After Ivey informed him of the problem, Cruz teamed up with other senators to write a letter to Robert Lightheiser, the U.S. trade representative, highlighting the importance of Texas’ pecan industry, which produces 41 million pounds of the nut in a given year.
Written by Rachel Zein.