The joint production of Peru, Chile and Colombia has established itself as the second most important supplier of the fruit, also called avocado, after Mexico. According to the financial firm of Dutch origin, its export in 2021 will close at 700,000 tons to reach one million in two years.
Peru, the leader. Chile, the mature industry. Colombia, the revelation. These are the three protagonists that the financial firm Rabobank highlights in the emergence of the South American avocado worldwide.
According to a recent report from the financial entity, guacate exports from the sub-continent have been increasing since 2014 and will reach more than 700,000 metric tons this year. And, if the trend continues, exports will exceed one million tons in the next two years.
Most of that figure originates from Peru. The country will end 2021 with a record figure of more than 550,000 metric tons exported.
Chile, the first South American country to develop an avocado export industry. Chile, the first South American country to develop an avocado export industry, according to Rabobank, had a difficult 2020/21 season, with a 40% decrease in production. This caused a similar drop in exports but helped keep value high.
For its part, Colombia, the third player, shows the highest expansion rates, with an average annual growth of 57% between 2016 and 2021. It is also the only country that produces avocados throughout the year.
In Chile, the start of the avocado season was normally in July. In 2021, exports have been very low, only 1,117 tons between July and August due to the strong increase in Peruvian avocado production and exports (which exceeded 450,000 tons of exports in 2021, see Peru graph).
Peru, which has mainly supplied the European market heavily, has induced price decreases that do not attract Chilean exporters to participate in this situation, even more so when record prices were reached in Chile compared to the decrease in production last season, In addition, for Chilean producers, it is more attractive to supply the domestic market for faster payment than in the case of exports.
The current season will have a rebound in Chile’s production and a similar proportion to previous seasons has been estimated in the estimated volume to be exported, but this may change due to the high demand in Chile. A more regular flow of avocado exports from Chile is expected to start in October. The graph below shows the dominance of Peru in the current season, Chile practically absent from the market and very low prices until mid-August.
The United States is the main consumer market for avocados and is increasingly dependent on foreign production. The ratio between import and consumption has increased from 37% in 2001 to more than 90% in 2020, according to figures from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In terms of production, the US crop has been stable to declining in recent years as the domestic industry in California faces several challenges. “Under these circumstances, the dependence of the US avocado market on imports will only increase in the future as consumption continues to expand.”
This in a context of sustained growth in consumption, which has increased by 8% annually during the last decade. In 2010, each American ate 1.88 kilos on average; in 2018, it was around 3.8 kilos. “Avocado consumption could exceed 5kg per person per year by 2026,” says the report.
Twenty years ago, he mentions that most US avocado imports came from Chile, since Mexico still faced sanitary restrictions in this market. Since the sanitary restrictions for avocados from Michoacán, the main producing region of Mexico, were lifted, exports from this country have dominated the US market. On the contrary, he reports that imports from Chile have practically disappeared, as Chilean producers have focused on other export markets, as well as the expanding domestic market. “In the future, we will see the US importing more avocados from Peru and Colombia”
Europe is the main destination market for the three South American countries. “In the last decade, we have seen an unstoppable growth in the demand for avocados, which has led to a constant supply during the 52 weeks of the year from at least 10 different countries. South American countries lead in this market, representing 55% of the total volume in 2019 and 2020”
In 2020, Peruvian avocado exports to Europe increased by 39% or 70,000 tons, with maximum volumes in June. In 2021, despite the 22% increase in Peruvian avocado exports, supply was better distributed between May and August. “We forecast growing volumes for exports from South America and other producing countries, which will increase competition and affect prices in the period from June to August 2022”
NAME: Avocado (American Persea )
FAMILY: The avocado belongs to the family of Lauraceae, domesticated since pre-Inca times.
DESCRIPTION: The fruit is a berry, of a seed, of mesocarp fleshy and very pleasant, with cells rich in oils that contribute, content 12 vitamins of the 13 existing, high vitamin E and K, and all B vitamins.
It is also rich in minerals. According to the variety the skin can mature purple almost black (‘Hass’) or green (‘Strong’).
The endocarp that surrounds the seed is thin and light yellow. The weight of the fruit is approximately 450 g.
Its origin is the inter-Andean valleys.
Color: Intense violet to intense green
% dry weight: 21 ±1 %
% oil: 11 ±1%
Color: Greenish yellow
Smell: occasional and light to anise
Physical damage: Absent
CHEMICAL PHYSICIAN: 100 g of avocado pulp
Protein: 1.7 g
Humidity: 75 g
Oil: 15.4 g
Fiber: 1.6 g
Calories: 160 calories
Carbohydrates: 5.9 g
Total coliforms: < 3 (MNP/g)
Osmofilos molds: < 10,000 (UFC/g)
Osmofilas yeasts: < 10,000 (UFC/g)
Salmonella: Negative in 25 gr.
Chile’s avocado production reached 220 thousand tons in 2021, according to information collected by the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The estimate assumes that by 2022 the planted area and productivity will remain unchanged.
The Chilean avocado planted area is 30,143 hectares (ha), of which almost 90% are made up of the Hass avocado variety. The planted area has remained stable in the last five years and the USDA expects the planted area to remain around 30,000 ha next year.
Chileans consume about 30% of the national production of avocados. The main avocado producing region in Chile is Valparaíso, which concentrates 67.4% of the total planted area. Only between 2017 and 2018, the area planted with the crop in Valparaíso increased by 6.8%. The other two main regions are the Metropolitan region and Coquimbo.
Regarding exports, the USDA estimate is that next year they will reach 145 thousand tons, a similar value to this year. It is known that between January and September 2020 alone, Chilean avocado exports increased by 46.1% in volume and 43.3% in value, mainly due to demand from the Netherlands, followed by Argentina and the United Kingdom.
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