After big drop this year, Chile avocado production expected to climb, USDA says
While Chile’s 2010-11 avocado season will see a significant drop in production, the harvest yield will grow in coming years as new orchards reach commercial production, the USDA said in its Chile Avocado Annual report.
Avocado production is expected to fall this season as a result of the alternate bearing effect and poor weather conditions during the fruit’s growth, the report said.
Total production is expected to reach 198,000 metric tons in calendar year 2010, compared to 261,000 in CY 2009. The 2009-10 season was an exceptionally good harvest, and yielded record export volumes, the USDA said.
In CY 2011 the harvest is expected to top 2009 levels and reach 280,000 MT, with 170,000 MT going toward exports.
Another factor that is influencing the market for Chilean avocados are the increased consumption and price of avocados in the domestic market.
“Domestic prices obtained by producers often are similar or higher than prices obtained for exports,” the report said.
The report said this trend started in 2009-10, when nearly 70,000 metric tons were destined for domestic consumption and retailers launched promotion campaigns in Chile.
Chile’s production is focused almost exclusively on the Hass variety, which holds an 80% share of planted crops and almost all of exports, the report said. At the end of 2009 there were 40,598 hectares of planted crops. That number is expected to grow to 40,980 hectares in 2011.
Chile’s Hass exports target the U.S. market, which receives around 70% of the entire export crop. Avocado exports to the U.S. have grown since a duty free quota was applied in 2004 after the application of the free trade agreement between the two countries.