Chilean avocado producers face tough year in face of growing competition from Peru
Chile’s avocado production in 2018/19 is forecast to rise 8.8%, to 245,000 tons. Nevertheless, a European market saturated with fruit from Peru and South Africa meant that Chilean avocado producers experienced a difficult early window in August this year. The Chinese market was also loaded with Peruvian avocado, leaving the US market the sole exit route for Chilean production, given that Mexican avocados had yet to arrive. By September, the arrival of Mexican production pushed down prices in the US, while prices in Europe improved as the Peruvian campaign drew to a close.
The Chilean avocado season began later than usual as producers decided to wait for Peruvian production to leave the market. This allowed the fruit to reach a dry matter content of 23% upon harvest, ensuring it arrived on the market in optimum condition. Peru shipped 300,000 tons up to Week 34, up 27% on the same point last year. This appears to have reduced the window for Chile’s avocado, but may allow Chile to export to China between January and April, when Peruvian fruit has left the market.
Despite strong production forecasts, doubts remain due to frosts and a drought affecting growing areas in Chile.