Exports of Peruvian avocados this year have seen much greater volumes in the early stages of the season.
ProHass president Daniel Bustamante said this is due to newer orchards in the north coming online and extending the season.
The country forecasts exports to fall by 14% from a record 339,000 metric tons (MT) last year to 290,000MT.
"Last year was a great production year, both in terms of fruit sizing and fruit volume," he told FreshFruitPortal.com.
"The season was long due to many factors including the record production the climatic conditions that delayed the dry matter development of the fruit."
More early-season production
Bustamante said that the front-end season extension this year is a new trend for the industry.
"The avocado harvest in Peru is 30% complete. It is a different campaign from previous years because this year and from now on it will have a much longer season," he said.
"Last year, climatic conditions meant that the season was longer. There were shipments until September and October, but that was not normal. The longer season this year is mainly due to this early start, resulting from growth in the early regions in March and April."
He explained there have been significant investments in avocado orchards in both the north and the mountainous region.
"The first shipments started in February, but they ramped up in April," he said.
Exports this year are to be more spaced out, he added. Last year they were heavily concentrated over a short period, contributing to sharp price declines in Europe.
New avocado markets for Peru
In addition, Bustamante said Peru is working to develop new markets, like recently-opened Thailand.
"To finalize it and to do the first shipments, Thai inspectors will soon visit Peru. We are right now coordinating their visit," he said.
He also highlighted the growth of the Chinese market, saying it has given the industry "many surprises".
"It's still a small market for avocados because they're not used to consuming them there," he said. "However, year by year it is absorbing more fruit with good market conditions."
Peruvian exports to China are almost doubling every year, he explained. The Asian country could one day become one of Peru's main markets, he added.
This season Peru will likely shop 55% of fruit to Europe, 30% to the U.S., 10% to Asia and 5% to Latin America.