Africa is becoming a major player in the booming avocado sector. Kenya’s avocado season started in March with demand high. The country’s production will compete with Peruvian produce which come onto the market with large volumes in May. Kenya expects to be able to begin exporting to China by the end of the season in August.
African avocado arrives on European markets
Peruvian avocado exports soar 26% higher
Peru’s avocado exports set a new record in 2018, reaching US$800 million, up 26% on 2017, according data published by the Lima Chamber of Commerce. Peru sends avocados to 35 destinations, the main one being the Netherlands, with US$275 million, followed by the US, with US$191 million, and Spain, with US$111 million. Since 2008, the country’s avocado exports have increased almost ten-fold, from US$84.8 million, having gained access to many markets, such as China, Costa Rica, South Korea, Belgium, Russia, Australia, Portugal New Zealand, the UAE and India.
Heatwave leads to 48% drop in California avocado crop
California expects its lowest avocado harvest in a decade due to last year’s intense heat wave across the state. According to California Avocado Committee estimates, this year’s crop will be 79,000 tons - 48% lower than last year's 153,000 tons. The state’s crop fluctuates greatly on an annual basis, with its record harvest being recorded in 2010, when total production volumes reached 242,445 tons. Peru and South Africa also expect declines in their avocado crop this year.
Australian avocado production booming
Australia’s avocado production is forecast to continue expanding, given that a third of the trees have yet to reach prime production. The country’s 2017/18 avocado crop was up 17%, to 77,000 tons, worth US$402 million, according to Avocados Australia. Production has almost doubled in the past decade, with forecast volumes to reach 115,000 tons by 2025. The leading avocado-growing region is Queensland (62%), followed Western Australia (25%), with even growth across the country.
Chile’s avocado exports plummet 58.3% in 2018/19
Mexico’s avocado exports remain stable in 2018/19 despite strikes
Mexico’s avocado exports are expected to remain stable in 2018-19 at around 1 million tons, according to USDA data. This comes despite the recent turmoil in Mexico’s main avocado production state, Michoacán, with producers complaining about low prices and practices they deem unfair. The USDA report highlights how the depreciation of the Mexican peso has helped drive exports in recent years. Indeed, the export estimate is significantly higher than the 874,000 tons of the 2016-17 campaigns.
Mexico’s avocado strike comes to end
The strike and road blockades that paralysed the avocado harvest and exports in the Mexican state of Michoacán have come to an end after 16 days. A government-brokered meeting between growers and packers ended in an agreement to resume harvesting and shipping. The cause of the strikes was the discontent of some growers with the low prices received from packers, with demands for a minimum price, something the packers refused to do, citing international competition law.
Strikes bring Mexico’s avocado capital to standstill
Michoacán’s avocado producers unhappy with the low prices have blocked roads, stopping the cultivation and exports of the fruit. They are demanding a raise in prices, following the sharp fall in recent weeks. Meetings have taken place between representatives of the sectors to find a solution to a situation which so far has led to 50,000 tons of avocado not being exported to the US and 3,500 tons not shipped to Europe and Japan. This has led to a rise in prices in the US, Mexico’s main market.
Colombia and EU discuss avocado
The EU has sent a trade delegation to Colombia to discuss the potential of importing avocado. Many of Colombia’s coffee farmers have begun switching to avocado, with Hass exports exceeding 18,000 tons in the first half of 2018. The cultivated area of Hass has grown by 126% to 16,000 hectares over the last five years.
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.