Chile upbeat on U.S. avocado market with Peruvian supply boost
Chilean Hass Avocado Committee president Adolfo Ochagavía says increased Peruvian supply in Europe has helped market stability in recent years, as well as consumer demand. As Chile's 2011-12 season draws to a close, he tells www.freshfruitportal.com how markets might follow a similar path in North America as Peru starts its first full season of avocado exports to the U.S.
Ochagavía says shipments forecasts for 2011-12 have been reduced from 120,000 metric tons (MT) to 115,000MT, with small volumes expected in the next few weeks.
He notes around 111,000MT have been shipped to date with good market conditions.
"It's difficult to venture into how the U.S. market might be but I think it will be stable for the next two weeks, and it's the same in Europe," he says.
"Prices have been relatively stable and if you add that Peru will have its first year of more voluminous sales in the U.S. then that's another factor.
"It's the first year where we'll get to see what Peru's role is but I think it will add to the stability of the market."
Ochagavía points out prices were "very high" from May to August in 2011, but a higher Peruvian presence during the period should alleviate volatility this year.
"Without a doubt when you have a price that is more accessible that helps avocado sales, as it becomes more attractive for the consumer," he says.
"Peru starts at the end of May and goes through to around September, which is the time when Chile starts to increase its export volumes."
Ochagavía would not comment on the issue of profitability, but said a more stable U.S. market during Chile's counterseason would be positive for exports in 2012-13.
He highlights there have been some size issues with the fruit this year due to drought in the Petorca province and water problems in the third section of the Aconcagua River.
"This is something that the industry has just had to live with."
He says the domestic avocado market remains very important for the industry with around 85,000MT expected for 2011-12. To make sure volumes are rotated with good prices, the committee is conducting a local promotional campaign with recipes on a cooking show on TV channel Megavision every Thursday, as well as marketing materials provided to markets.