Africa boosts avocado exports to EU, but loses market share

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Africa boosts avocado exports to EU, but loses market share

Avocado exports from African countries to the EU have been on the upswing over recent years, but at a slower rate than total import growth in the market. 

Exports rose from 82,000 metric tons (MT) in 2014 to 86,000MT last year, according to data from Eurostat.

South Africa's share of the continent's avocado exports to Europe shrunk from 61% to 48% between 2015 and 2017, on the back of a lower crop from the country and growth from Kenya and Morocco.

Kenya last year supplied 30% of the total, up from 25% in 2015, while Morocco managed to double its volumes over the two years and saw its share rise from 9% to 16%.

Tanzania and Zimbabwe have both maintained their shares of 4% and 2% respectively.

While volumes of African avocados have grown in the EU over recent years, total imports available in the market has increased at a much faster rate, from 305,000MT in 2014 to 486,000MT in 2017, according to Eurostat.

This significant increase means that Africa's share of the imported EU avocado market shrunk from 27% to 18% over the period.

The market's largest foreign supplier, Peru, saw a rise from 103,000MT to 158,000MT over the three years, while Chile boosted its exports to the EU from 54,000MT to 98,000MT.

In addition, Israel rose from 45,000MT to 54,000MT, while Mexico shot up from 10,500MT to 46,500MT and Colombia rocketed from 2,500MT to 28,000MT.

African growth soars in 2018

It should be noted, however, that the three leading African avocado exporting countries saw a substantial boost in shipments to the EU in from January through April this year.

Over the four-month period, Morocco almost doubled its shipments year-on-year to 16,500MT, South Africa rose by 38% to 10,500MT and Kenya increased by 50% to 9,000MT. 

Overall, Africa has seen a 62% year-on-year increase to 36,000MT over the period, marking significantly stronger growth than the previous three years.

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