From January to September 2017 Chilean avocado exports were up by 42.9% in volume, to 90,985 tons, and rose by 61.7% in value to US$197.5 million compared with 2016 levels. Exports are forecast to reach 155,000 tons in 2018. With a 30% market share, the US is the largest importer of Chilean avocados. Chilean avocado exports to the US grew 158.5% in volume and 219.1% in value from January through September 2017 over 2016, reaching 23,070 tons and US$58.8 million.
Elsewhere, Chilean Hass avocado exports to Europe remain strong. Volumes shipped to Spain increased by 37.7% in volume and 40.5% in value, exports to the U.K. increased by 3.4% in volume and 13.5% in value and exports to the Netherlands increased by 0.7% in volume and 6.7% in value. European consumer demand for Chilean Hass avocados remains strong.
Exports to China increased by 76.5% in volume and 88.1% in value, and are expected to keep growing as the Chilean avocado industry redoubles its promotional efforts in the country, mainly at the points of sale in grocery stores and specialised fruit stores, but also on social media, with a focus on educating consumers on the best way to consume this fruit. Chile also participated in the Food and Hotel China (FHC) Show presenting dishes made with Chilean Hass avocados.
Planted area in 2016 fell to 29,319 ha. Since 2007, the planted area of avocados in Chile has been decreasing, albeit at a declining rate since 2013, when it reached 30,330 ha. 65% of all avocado planted areas are located in the Valparaiso region, 15% in the Metropolitan region (Santiago) and 15% in the Coquimbo region. Around 88% of the total planted area is with the Chilean Hass avocado variety, which is very sensitive to low temperatures and frosting. That is why the planting area is limited to the regions with less risk of frosts and on hillsides, where temperatures are higher than in flat areas. Other avocado varieties, mainly destined for the Chilean domestic market, are Edranol, Negra de la Cruz and Fuerte. In the last eight years, droughts have limited increases in production. However, the abundant rainfall recorded in 2016 and 2017 has allowed storing of irrigation water and favoured an increase in production despite the reduction in planted area.