Chilean avocado shipments to Asia up 300% in 2015-16 - FreshFruitPortal.com

Chilean avocado shipments to Asia up 300% in 2015-16

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Chilean avocado shipments to Asia up 300% in 2015-16

A flood of Mexican product dampened the market in October, but Chile has still notched a good season in China as it gears up for volume growth in 2016-17.

Chilean Hass Avocado Committee CEO Juan Enrique Lazo told www.freshfruitportal.com there was great expectation for Chilean avocados in China with "tremendous demand".

"While it still hasn't finished, it's been a very good season and moreover a very good start for Chilean avocados in China," highlighting 300% export growth to Asia so far this campaign, with China making up 91% of Chile's Asia-bound exports.

"Chilean exporters had constant calls from importers, but the strategy was to do a small season with companies who had already worked in the past with other fruits, with a cautious volume to give space for buyers to manage it.

"Any mistake, whether it be oversupply or poor management, could have discredited the product, which we know is an excellent product."

He clarified exports to date had actually been double what would was forecast at the beginning of the season.

"We were scared that if more volume arrived than what the market could consume, prices would go lower and quality could be affected.

"While it wasn't our mistake, for a period there were a lot of avocados arriving from Mexico, which flooded the market...but fortunately it was shown that the customer preferred the Chilean [avocados] and also paid a better price for our fruit than for Mexico's."

From a production perspective, even though Chile has had drought challenges, Lazo projected a conservative increase for the next season from 170,000MT in 2015-16 to 190,000MT in 2016-17.

"My perception is that in the next season prices will be better on average than currently, as the same mistakes of sending large volumes shouldn't be made," he said.

"Chile is experiencing a long drought, similar to what California is going through. This year we had better rainfall which helped us to be able to irrigate better," he said.

"But the drought continues. This limits our production, so China will have to settle for buying a certain amount of Chilean avocados. They will have to be very attentive to know when they'll arrive next season, so that they are not without Chilean Hass avocados."

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