The Argentine Association of Avocado Growers (AAPROPAL) has expressed concern about the potential entry of Peruvian avocados into their country, mostly due to commercial consequences for local production.
In a letter addressed to Tucumán Productive Development Minister Jorge Feijóo, the association said the industry would be ‘liquidated’ in the Tucumán province – Argentina’s leading avocado region – if Peruvian fruit gained access.
AAPROPAL president Julio Figueroa told www.freshfruitportal.com some Peruvian companies had requested entry in Argentina.
“This damages us from the commercial point of view because it coincides with the period when we produce,” Figueroa said.
“With the volume Peru has we would be crushed quickly,” he said, mentioning Argentina’s production was just 2,500 metric tons (MT).
The Argentine market is currently supplied by domestic avocados between April and August, and then by Chilean fruit between September and April; neighboring growers across the Andes have also complained to their plant health authorities over the entry of Peruvian fruit, but from more of a phytosanitary perspective, alleging threat from sunblotch disease.
Figueroa says imports of Chilean avocados do not present much of a problem.
“We are now facing a totally different situation. Peruvian production is harvested in the same months as Argentine production,” AAPROPAL stated in its letter to the minister.
“Once the Peruvian fruit is positioned, it would become very difficult for our production to be able to adequately compete in the months of March to July, in view of the commercial structures of Peruvian companies, mega ventures with a strong participation of foreign capital, nestled in one of the best ecological zones for avocados in the world, and with modern and highly efficient infrastructure.
While the main worry for Argentine growers appears to be trade-related, AAPROPAL’s letter did mention the threat posed by sunblotch.
“The commercial issue does not complicate matters for Chile because it’s in a period when they don’t have fruit, avocados aren’t there, or in other words it complements domestic market supply, but for us they compete and they compete strongly.
“Our activity, which with all the difficulties that it currently faces, still subsists. With an expansion of the viroid [sunblotch] that would be the death sentence for avocado growing in the country.”
Apart from its letter to the provincial minister, Figueroa said AAPROPAL would also appeal to the National Service of Agri-Food Health and Quality (SENASA) and the federal Ministry of Agriculture, with the aim of blocking the entry of fruit. The aim is to have the provincial governments of Tucumán, Salta and Jujuy on board for this appeal.