Aiming high for Peruvian avocados in 2013

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Aiming high for Peruvian avocados in 2013

Peru's avocado industry has experienced strong growth over recent years, gaining a name for itself on international markets that have shown increasing demand for the Peruvian fruitpaltas_72067666

Through the Hass Avocado Growers Association (ProHass), Peru has defined an action plan to continue strengthening global markets.

In a conversation with, ProHass president Arturo Medina commented on the challenges coming in 2013 to win over the domestic market and to enter Chile where Hass avocado consumption is blowing up.

A win-win situation

With the campaign starting in mid-April, it looks unlikely that Peruvian avocados will arrive to Chile this year. Peru's request for market access is still under review by phytosanitary authorities.

"This topic is still under public consultation and we hope the process will finish at the end of April. After that, Chile's agricultural service should give an answer about these consultations, so there is still some way to go," Medina said.

"We have high hopes about entering the Chilean market, which we consider very important on the consumption level. We believe the main benefits of Hass avocado entrance will be the consumers, because we'll be entering at a time when - from what we understand - the prices are very high and we would be a good alternative."

Medina also commented that Peru needs Chilean producers and exporters to send their fruit to Peru to create a constant product flow on the Peruvian market.

"We only have the fruit for six months a year. Last year we invested US$150,000 in promoti0n and this year we hope to invest double, but it doesn't help to promote avocado and educate people if we don't have year-long availability. People forget and it doesn't create a habit of consumption," Medina said.

"What happens is that people begin to develop a taste and then we end up with no fruit. What we want is that once the Peruvian campaign is finalized that Chilean Hass comes in and we can continue a promotional campaign, so as not to lose everything we've done over the last six months."

According to Medina, per capita Hass avocado consumption in Peru is lower than two and a half kilos a year. 98% of consumption is of the Fuerte variety.

Growth and entrance into the U.S.

Medina said a big reason for industry growth is that Peru has young plantations to develop production.

"We are constantly growing and it's because we have young farms that are recently entering production. In Peru, we should have 10,000 Ha dedicated exclusively to Hass production and this year we had 2,000 more Ha in production," he said.

"In the last few years, the production growth rate has been around 20% annually. Before our only market was Europe, but as of last year we have been able to enter the U.S. without the need for quarantine treatment."

The ProHass president said entrance to the U.S. market was not easy, especially since the country already has large supplies from California and Mexico.

"Our entrance was not because of the better season but we wanted to come in as a consumer option. While exports without quarantine treatment began in 2011, we entered the market when Peru's campaign was ending. 2012 was our first official year," he said.

In 2012, Peru exported 16,000 MT to the North American country and in 2013, they hope to double the number.

In respect to competition, Medina said it is strong in the U.S., especially from Mexico who has increased production and extended its market presence.

For the European market, some containers have already been sent, although the season has not formally begun yet. At peak production, Peru should send 120 containers a week.

Medina said they will invest US$1 million between France, England and Germany for Hass avocado promotion.

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