Peru's avocado harvest delayed, Chile to start in June
Peru's avocado industry has reported harvest delays while climatic issues in Chile and South Africa will prevent harvests from reaching their full potential, according to market reseacher iQonsulting.
Peru's Hass avocado harvest is usually between March and April but this year it started in May, with expectations to produce between 65 million metric tons (MT) and 70 million MT.
An iQonsulting report said 5% of the harvest will stay in Peru for domestic consumption, but even if the country exports at the lower end of expectations there would still be growth of around 9% on last season.
"To date exports have advanced 14.6% of what is estimated for this season, with European countries as the main destination," the report said.
"On the other hand, with respect to quality and the condition of the fruit, there have been no reports of problems to date. Hass have reached the expected percentages of dry matter with a higher proportion of larger sizes."
Chile exported its last lots of avocadoes between weeks 18 and 20 with a final 2010/11 season volume of 80,700 metric tons (MT), compared to 194,037MT in the previous season.
The country's exports were much lower with more than 50% of total production consumed domestically. In terms of export markets, Chile shipped 51,851 metric tons (MT) to the U.S., 23,507MT to Europe and 1,846MT to Asia.
Chile's 2011/12 season is expected to begin in June as the minimum standard of dry matter for export has not yet been achieved.
While the alternate-bearing nature of the crop means the coming season ought to be better, water stress following droughts in the V (Valparaiso) and VI (O'Higgins) regions will likely set back harvests from their full potential.
South Africa's avocado harvest has advanced 23% with shipments of 30,795MT expected for the season, representing a 35% fall on last year's volumes.
Climatic problems have affected the main avocado-producing zones leading to lower size fruit that will likely be destined for the domestic market, where consumption is constantly increasing.
The main South African export market is Europe, which had received around 7,200 metric tons (MT) leading up to week 21 (May 27).