Chile needs constant export supply, says avocado expert

Most Read Top Stories
Chile needs constant export supply, says avocado expert

Stabilizing avocado shipments to offer constant supply will be the challenge for Chilean exporters according to industry expert Jorge Covarrubias.

The director of the Chilean Hass Avocado committee tells growers must avoid being swayed by prices and should see the bigger picture.

In particular, he highlights the recent drop in avocado exports to the U.S. and E.U. in week 40 (Oct. 3-9) due to strong prices in the Chilean market which led to Mexico filling the gap.

"The domestic producer must understand that the supply must be constant regardless of price fluctuations", says Covarrubias, who is also commercial director of Chilean exporter Santa Cruz.

He adds that while the short-term benefits are good, the long-term consequences could be negative.

"As an industry we must be reliable and provide a stable market, if we don't customers will get angry and leave. It is essential that we comply with our programs," emphasizes Covarrubias.

He says producers should realize that in the future the domestic market is likely to be limited despite the current premium prices.

Covarrubias is upbeat about the industry's prospects claiming there is greater interest from both Europe and the U.S.

"The U.S., even in the recession, has increased its consumption of avocadoes and continues to grow."

He is particularly keen to develop the U.S. market in the densely populated regions of the West Coast, central states and East Coast.

Jorge Covarrubias

He also believes that there are good prospects in the Far East.

"We are doing small but growing volumes to Japan and Hong Kong. It has been a good experience. There is potential for growth there."

Covarrubias is positive about the industry's prospects but says there are a few challenges ahead especially concerning growing conditions.

"Everything depends on what is happening with water supplies and water scarcity that affects areas such as Valle de Petorca and Aconcagua. This year we have had problems guaging water supplies. The avocado is smaller and the market likes a certain sized avocado. "

There is also the challenge of a new competitor entering the market for the coming 2011-12 season.

"We will be able to see what happens when Peruvian avocadoes enter the U.S., Chile will probably have to delay their entry a bit because Peru will be earlier"

"I think the windows for export for each country will have to be adjusted."

Subscribe to our newsletter