The Israeli avocado industry is expected to produce its first commercial volumes of the Maluma avocado variety this season and could even see the first exports to the European Union later in the year.
Oren Wallach of Israel-based Oren Nursery also said the number of Maluma trees available to the country’s growers was rapidly increasing, adding that farmers were feeling optimistic about the variety.
Wallach was speaking to Fresh Fruit Portal during the eighth annual Maluma Day event hosted by Allesbeste Nursery. The event is taking place this week in Tzaneen with close to 400 professionals in attendance from the world’s top producing countries.
“We started off with about 400 trees in our first year, then 1080 the second year, and now we’re in the third year we will be sending out 13,000 trees from my nursery and 3,000 from certified sublicensed farms in Israel,” he said.
“So there are about 16,000 trees that are going to be planted in the spring and summer of 2018, and we already have orders for 15,000 more next year.
“It’s very good times for avocados in Israel. The farmers are very happy and are making good money so they can invest.”
He said that last year the total yields were small – only around a few hundred kilograms – but he is expecting approximately 10 metric tons (MT) to be produced this year.
“With this 10MT will can determine the quality, the count, the taste, the maturity and the time that it can really be harvested with good taste.”
Wallach also said Hass was facing “a lot of difficulties”, and was hopeful Maluma would be a solution to them.
“Hass is one of the very sensitive varieties that can be affected by fungal diseases, both in the nursery and in the field,” he said
“The Maluma production is better and it seems that it has more tolerance to lower temperatures and frosts. It can also be planted in high-densities which provide higher production per hectare.”
He added that precociousness of the variety was a “very big advantage.”
According to Wallach, the variety could represent a good new source of income for Israeli farmers.
“Israeli agriculture is facing very hard times now due to political issues and the farmers are not in the front of politicians’ minds, and because of that agriculture falls behind and the number of farmers is declining every year.
“This year the high prices of avocados gave good opportunities to farms to stay and make a living,” he said.