Chile to step up avocado exports to Europe
Chilean avocado exporters are expected to increase shipments to Europe by 6% this season in response to a tough U.S. market, which has been driven by strong California production and Peru’s first year exporting to the country.
The Chilean Avocado Committee has forecast a 27% year-on-year drop of U.S. exports to just 55,000 metric tons (MT) this season compared with 75,000MT in 2011.
Committee president Adolfo Ochagavia said he estimated Chile would send 34,000MT to Europe compared with 32,000MT last year.
“Chilean fruit has a good reputation with good postharvest perfromance. I think we will be sending a little bit more there [Europe] this season.”
German importer Cobana Fruchtring’s avocado category manager Felix Sperl, said he was waiting for his first container of Chilean avocados to arrive this week.
“The opportunities are better to sell in Europe. The competition in the U.S. market was so great, they pay more but we have the possiblity to sell smaller 16-18 sized avocados compared the 12-14 sizes which go to the U.S.
“There is a market for Chile as it arrives in Europe when Peru and South Africa are almost finished. Chile is more or less alone in the market and it’s very good for them.”
Groupe AZ France sales manager Christophe Rodriguez said this year’s avocado marketing campaign was different due to California’s large volumes.
“Within the next few years Chile will have more difficulty competing with Peru in the U.S. market which is probably why Chile is sending more to Europe than before.”
He said Chile’s ability to supply avocados from the end of August through to March meant they were operating outside South Africa’s normal timeframe.
But he warned from mid-November to early January Israel’s cheaper Fuerte avocado supply would make it tougher for Chile to sell during this period.
Sperl said the forward on truck price for avocados arriving in Rotterdam is around €8 per 4 kilogram box compared to 6.75-7.50 a box for Peruvian supply.
He explained that Europe had received too many avocados over the last three to four weeks with a lot of the Peruvian fruit left in storage which had decreased the price.
Ochagavia added Chilean avocado shipments to Argentina are currently showing a 73% year-on-year increase to 1,900MT up to and including week 38.
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