Peru: Avocado campaign 'behind schedule' as export forecast inches up
Peru is expecting to export 473,000 metric tons (MT) of Hass avocado in the 2021 season, which would represent an increase of 29% compared to the 366,000MT shipped in the previous season, local website Agraria reported.
This was highlighted by the president of the Peruvian Association of Hass Avocado Producers (ProHass), Juan Carlos Paredes Rosales, who indicated that this important growth would be due to two factors: the productive entry of new plantations (in Olmos and in the highlands), as well as the higher productive yields of young trees.
As for markets, he said that Europe will continue to be the main destination, where it is planned to send between 320,000 to 350,000MT.
The goal is to ship 100,000 tons to the United States, which would mean an increase of 20% over last season - lower than the expected growth of total exports this season. Peru currently supplies around 30% of the avocado that arrives in the United States, Paredes said.
"This year's avocado campaign from the Peruvian coast is behind schedule, there has been a delay for the fruit to obtain the adequate percentage of dry matter (in Lambayeque and La Libertad), besides the sizes are larger, which does not help this objective because the United States market requests a very specific size (# 48), this could lead to the decision to send more Hass avocado to other markets such as Chile that demands this fruit a lot", he said.
As for the avocado produced in the Peruvian highlands (Apurímac, Ayacucho, Huancavelica, Junín and Cusco), which is harvested in the first months of the year (January-April), he said that it has allowed an earlier start to the campaign, when the international market generally sees lower supplies.
"This fruit comes from small associated producers, who have managed to stock that fruit, have installed packing in some regions of the highlands (with the support of agro-export companies) and thus be able to enter the agro-export market," he said.
He added that new early and late avocado varieties are being tested, such as Maluma, Gem and Carmen, which are characterized by their more uniform weight and size.
"Peru needs earlier and later fruit, since there are weeks where there is a high volume of fruit (800 containers per week), which is risky because it generates very low prices," he said.
Juan Carlos Paredes also spoke about the work ProHass is doing to offer a uniform quality avocado. He indicated that, in previous years, at the beginning of the season, many avocados shipped did not reach their adequate dry matter, which forced phytosanitary watch Senasa to establish as a requirement to export avocado with a minimum of 21.5% dry matter.
He also said that his company, working hand in hand with the National Agricultural Health Service (Senasa), has initiated this year a pilot program to establish a certificate of conformity for Hass avocado from Peru.
"There was a tendency to think that early avocado from Peru was of poor quality, so to reverse this and ensure that good quality avocado arrives in the early stage of the current season, we are using a certificate of conformity rather than a quality seal," he commented.
Of the 473,000 tons of Hass avocado estimated to be exported this season, between 25% and 30% would carry this quality seal, he said.