Spanish avocado industry set for sharp production rise
The head of grower body grower body Asaja Málaga, Benjamín Faulí, said the industry looked on track to produce around 60,000 metric tons (MT) this campaign, compared to around 45,000MT the previous year.
Production for the three seasons before that all came in between 40,000MT and 47,500MT.
Faulí said growers had begun harvesting the Bacon variety, with Hass season set to begin in December.
"It looks like we have good production, higher than last year which was around 45,000MT. The quality looks very good too," Faulí told www.freshfruitportal.com.
"I think that we could reach 60,000MT, but it is still too early to give a definitive figure."
More than 90% of Spanish avocado volumes originate from Malaga, which sits on the southern coast, but Faulí said production was growing in areas like Levante, Valencia and Alicante. The industry was also investigating the possibility of planting in Huelva, he added.
He said there were around 200-300 new hectares that had been planted over the last year. Around 80% of the production is represented by the Hass variety, with volumes complemented by Fuerte, Bacon, Pinkerton and Reed.
Three-quarters of the country's volumes are exported to Europe, where France, Germany and the Netherlands are the biggest recipients. Around 20% stays in the domestic market, which Faulí said was seeing strong demand growth.
"The majority of production is sent to Europe since in just two or three days it will be in the market with a good level of ripeness and high quality. The level of demand is also very appealing," he said.
"Every year the demand goes up, there aren't enough avocados in Europe to supply all the demand, and it is therefore a crop that is doing very well."
The representative said the industry was trying to open the U.S. market, but predominantly to have it as an option should it be required in the future, rather than because the industry needed new markets at present.
In terms of competition, Faulí said Chile, Peru and South Africa had occasionally caused problems for Spanish growers in the past.
"The periods between our campaigns aren't quite as long now as they once were, and we have coincided a few times. However, it is Israel that we normally run into, and they have a very strong production as well," he said.