Medina sees "big future" for Peruvian avocados in China, Japan
Hass Avocado Growers Association (ProHass) president Arturo Medina told www.freshfruitportal.com the sector had been trying to open the two Asian markets for around six years.
"We believe these are two very important markets that have a lot of potential," Medina said.
"Hass avocados have a big advantage in that they are a very healthy fruit, and we're convinced that we will be able to achieve a good market penetration and we will be a part of the pie in China and Japan."
Both countries have reached technical deals with Peru's National Agricultural Health Service (SENASA), and Medina said he expected China to open officially around the last week of April, while Japan should open in the first week of June.
Some 185,000 metric tons (MT) of avocados are expected to be exported in this campaign, running from April through September, with an estimated 5,000MT to be potentially split between China and Japan.
He said these were promising figures given Chinese and Japanese consumers were not particularly accustomed to eating avocados.
"There is a very big future, but you have to work for it. You need to teach to people how to eat it," he said.
When asked whether the long transit distance could pose a problem for the fruit's quality, Medina said he was confident the controlled atmosphere containers would ensure they fruit arrives in good condition.
With regards to other markets, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently proposed a rule to allow avocado imports from the state of Jalisco, which could be followed by the rest of the country. Medina said he did not expect the increased competition to be a problem given the sheer size of the market.
"The North American market is pretty big. I think every country will be able to find their own space in their season," he said.
"Consumption in the U.S. is growing every year, partly thanks to big investments in promotion. So we don't think the entry of Jalisco will be a problem."
He also said about 90,000MT of avocados would likely be shipped this season to the EU, the Peruvian industry's largest market.
In terms of other markets for the future, Medina said the industry was in the process of trying to open Argentina, Mexico and Colombia, and he also said he was very interested in exporting to Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea.
Medina also mentioned Peru would be holding the next World Avocado Congress event in the capital Lima from Sept. 13-18, and encouraged the participation of anyone who was interested.
"We expect about 1,500 people to attend, of which some 60% will be from abroad. Everyone is invited," he said.