Peru is set to produce about 180,000 tons of avocados for export this year, an amount roughly equal to last year,
According to a USDA GAIN report, this is despite the 2015-16 El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) weather phenomena delaying the country’s avocado harvest.
However, while Peru’s avocado production in April – which along with May and June is when its production is at its heaviest – was roughly equivalent to April last year, at about at 44,000 tons, it is about 17% down on 2014’s production of about 53,000 tons.
The report says that Peru’s Hass avocado producers’ association (PROHASS) attributes a bloom drop in the northern growing areas to El Niño-related warmer than normal temperatures, accompanied by higher humidity and rains.
At the same time, lower than normal temperatures accompanied by drier conditions brought the harvest in earlier than anticipated in the south-central growing areas.
According to GAIN sources, export control measures contributed to delaying the harvest by one month.
“Despite the lower production numbers, SUNAT (Peru’s customs and tax authority) reports 40% higher export volumes and a 50% increase in export values for the January-April 2016 period compared to 2015’s figures. This might be due to avocados grown for local consumption being shifted to the export channel,” the report says.
According to SUNAT and the Peruvian Avocado Commission (PAC), last year 27% of Peru’s avocado exports went to the US and 65% to the EU. Exports to the US are expected to total about 45,000 tons this year.
In August 2015, Peru won approval to ship Hass avocados to Japan and China and is this year expected to ship about 5,000 tons to these two markets.