California growers have been undisputed kings of the cling-peach industry for decades.
From Yuba City to Kingsburg, second- and third-generation farmers have steadily supplied the nation's makers of canned peaches, fruit cocktail and other processed peach products.
But now that dominance is being challenged by China -- a country with a history of squeezing U.S. farmers out of their own markets. And California's $158 million cling-peach industry worries it may be next.
In the last decade, lower-priced Chinese canned-peach imports to the U.S. grew from just 43,000 cases to more than 2.2 million last year. A case holds two dozen 29-ounce cans.
Chinese peaches now represent 12% of the 16 million cases consumed in the U.S. That has taken a bite out of the market share for California growers, who produce virtually all of the U.S.-grown cling peaches.
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