Guatemala avocado growers strategize, look to fill gaps in Europe
The Guatemalan avocado industry is seeking to organize production and increase export quality in order to reach new markets as well as fill gaps in the European market, according to La Prensa Gráfica.
There are two harvests in the country, one from November to March and the other from June to August. Producers are looking to stabilize sales and production throughout the year to have a constant market supply.
"We have identified that in Europe avocado consumption could grow between 10% and 15% every year for the next 10 years; that is why we must stay at the forefront," Marco Quilo, president of the Avocado Committee of the Guatemalan Association of Exporters (Agexport) said.
"This is why we think it is the best time to unite all producers who are dedicated to avocado cultivation and create future alliances that allow us to continue growing in various markets," Quilo said.
In Europe the average per capita consumption is 1.16 kilograms of avocado while in the U.S. it is 3.5 kilograms, and in Mexico between 6.5 and 7 kilograms.
European consumption has been increasing eight percent over the last three years, according to the news source.
"The problem for the European market is not demand but supply," Jacobo Pieters, market analyst at Agexport said. The industry also wants to enter Asian and South American markets.
According to data from the Bank of Guatemala, in 2019 and 2020 exports amounted to US$7.36 million and $7.54 million, respectively.
As of last February, income for the avocado industry had already totaled $2.9 million. The main destinations are the Netherlands, the UK, Spain, Germany, France, Canada, the U.S. and Central America.
Even though there is high demand and production of the fruit, currently only 25 percent of the country's cultivation capacity is used.
Optimization of avocado production in Guatemala is estimated to be between 13,500 and 14,500 kilograms per hectare, a quantity that with the current quality is reduced by approximately 15 percent. The sector seeks to bring this production to 18,000 kilograms per hectare.
The initiatives the Avocado Committee will look at this year include export development projects through implementation of regulations and certifications, increase in volume and production regions and strategy renewal for the sector among other things.