Chile to export avocadoes to South Africa

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Chile to export avocadoes to South Africa

Chile's avocado industry has struck a deal to export the fruit to South Africa this season under wash and wax treatment.

The Chilean Hass Avocado Committee and Chile's Agriculture and Livestock Service (SAG) have been working on the deal for many years with South African authorities and local industry.

"For our industry it's an achievement that gives us a lot of satisfaction - South Africa is an interesting market that produces and consumes avocado," committee president Adolfo Ochagavía told

He said the phytosanitary process meant each avocado had to be submerged in soapy water for at least 20 seconds, before rinsing in a pressure shower. The fruit is then immersed in wax for 20 seconds.

Ochagavía said it would be difficult to estimate how much fruit Chile would export to South Africa, tagging the 2011-12 season as 'exploratory'.

He highlighted the counter-seasonal benefits of the fruit in the South African market, which currently has annual avocado consumption of around 45,000 metric tons (MT) to 50,000MT.

"They normally export between April and September, with a high season between June and August, which leaves space to supply with arrivals between the end of November and February," he said.

"We know they consume avocadoes, around 90 grams per capita, and on average they consume Green Skin, and they could potentially increase their consumption of Hass."

South African response

South African Avocado Growers' Association CEO Derek Donkin has welcomed the move as it will help promote avocado consumption.

"For us it's quite a good thing and we have worked with the Chilean industry for them to get access. For us it's beneficial to have avocadoes on the shelf all year round," he said.

"We normaly import from Spain or Israel in the counter-season, so having Chilean supply will be better for competition - in the off-season prices do climb considerably.

"South African consumption of avocadoes over the years has grown and especially at the high end range and ready to eat - we know that to grow consumption you need year round visibility, consumers need to see that availability, retailers are more demanding, so imports from Chile tick all these boxes."

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