Chile is forecasting avocado production of 245,000 metric tons (MT) for the current season, which would mark a 9% year-on-year rise.
The Southern Hemisphere’s top avocado exporter recently began shipping to Europe following a late start to the campaign than previous years.
The production increase this year is equivalent to 20,000MT. Around 70% of the fruit is due to be exported and 30% sold in the domestic market.
“That was the proportion last season and we believe that it will be the same for this campaign,” said Francisco Contardo, general manager of the Chilean Hass Avocado Committee.
He said the increase is mainly due to higher productivity rather than new orchards coming online.
Another reason why the Chilean campaign was delayed was producers are having to wait until increasing later in the year for the fruit to reach the required 23% dry matter.
“Two seasons ago the harvest started in June, last season started in July and now it started in August,” he said, attributing the situation largely to the climate.
Contardo explained that the Chilean industry had been more focused on the U.S. market at the start of the season.
“The Europeans commented at that time that they did not require the presence of Chilean avocado due to the Peruvian supply,” said Contardo. However, now that the Peruvian avocado volumes have started to ease, a window has opened for Chile.
“In September, exports began to arrive from Mexico to the United States which, logically, took away opportunities, which is natural,” he said.