The United Fresh Produce Association (United Fresh) is strongly opposed to any action that would reduce funding for the Market Access Program (MAP). Under the president’s budget request and the Senate Budget Committee’s markup, MAP funding was recommended for a 20% reduction from its current $200 million annually. Robert Guenther, senior vice president of public policy for United Fresh, had this to say about MAP:
“Let me be clear, the fresh produce industry and our members have strongly supported the Market Access Program for more than 20 years. The recommendations by the administration and the Senate Budget Committee for MAP are clearly misguided in our overall agenda of expanding export opportunities. In fact, it is striking at a time when we see a weakened economy in many sectors of business including agriculture and certain fresh produce commodities are currently facing targeted trade restrictions. Finally, we have heard cries from many both on and off Capitol Hill about not moving away from our Farm Bill commitments — it is time to live up to these commitments for the Market Access Program as well.”
Fruit and vegetable interests, with their heavy dependence upon export markets, are significant participants in MAP. The matching fund program has been reduced from its original $300 million in the 1980s to $200 million under the 2002 Farm Bill. No increase in the program was provided in the 2008 Farm Bill.