With hard winter rains and an alternate cycle hitting the 2016/17 crop, 2017/18 is set to see better results for Mexico’s avocado producers, with overall production forecasts of 1.8 – 1.9 million tons for the 2017/18 season thanks to favourable weather conditions, up from 1.7 million tons in the previous campaign. Phytosanitary pest control programmes have also helped boost output.
The Mexican Avocado Association of Producers and Export Packers (APEAM) is collaborating with producers in Michoacán to invest in technological improvements to control pests and chemical or biological residues. Michoacán is Mexico’s leading avocado-producing state, accounting for 80% of the country’s overall output. Most of Michoacán’s avocado production takes place in small orchards. Many producers have implemented SAGARPA’s food safety programme recommendations. Costs of production in Michoacán range from US$ $3,763/ha using basic technology to about US$ $4,836/ha with advanced technology with machinery and irrigation systems.
Total area planted for avocados in Mexico in 2016/17 is estimated at 220,334 ha, an
increase of 7.3% over 2015/16. Area planted for 2017/18 is forecast to be higher still, with growers in different states interested in increasing area as a result of strong domestic and international demand for Hass avocados.
Exports to hit nearly 1 million tons
Mexico’s avocado exports for 2017/18 are expected to increase to almost 1 million tons on the back of strong international demand and thanks to the depreciation of the peso. This follows a year in 2016/17 when exports fell 9% to 873,963 tons from 960,362 tons in 2015/16 due to adverse weather conditions and an alternate-bearing low crop. Besides supplying all 50 US states year-round, exports to Canada, Japan and European countries have also increased. Global prices were up in 2016/17 due to lower volumes, with a value of US$2.5 billion, in contrast with 2015/16, when exports generated US$1.5 billion. Avocado prices in the US for size 48s in 2017/18 began in July at about US$40.50 a carton, reaching about US$87.50 by September and falling to US$41.50 a carton in October. The US receives 77-79% of Mexico’s avocado exports, followed by Japan (8-9%) and Canada (6-7%).