Chilean 2022-23 avocado crop 30% lower year-on-year
The Chilean avocado industry is closing its latest season with 155,000 tons, according to the latest estimate by the country's Avocado Committee. That figure represents a 30% year-on-year decrease from last season’s 220,000 tons.
Francisco Contardo, the Committe's Executive Director, spoke to FreshFruitPortal.com about consumption trends, estimates for the current season and advances in the sector's sustainability.
"With our estimate of 155,000 tons produced, we believe that approximately 86,000 will be exported, so we will continue with the proportion of 45% to the domestic market and 55% for export," said the executive director.
From Chile to the world
Regarding the year-on-year drop in production, Contardo cites multiple factors as the cause.
Weather issues complicated producers during 2022, with September frosts impacting many farmers. There were some dramatic cases where total crop loss was seen.
"While producers prepare for the frost season, last year we had a phenomenon where these events could not be foreseen, thus generating losses and consequently a drop in production for this season," he explains.
In terms of markets, last season 7% of total exports of 124,000 tons were sent to the U.S.
"Our most important market is Europe, which took about 69% of the fruit exported in 2021-22. It is followed by Argentina, with 15% and China with 7.4%," he explains.
Sustainability: An industry commitment
The Chilean avocado industry has been hit by the drought that has affected the country for more than twenty years. This has had a direct impact on the amount of productive areas.
Despite the complexities arising from this phenomenon, a study conducted by the Regional Water Center for Arid and Semi-Arid Zones of Latin America and the Caribbean (CAZALAC), under the sponsorship of UNESCO, found that irrigation management in the sector achieves high levels of efficiency.
The analysis identified annual water consumption of 8,900 m3/ha/year, which is very favorable compared to average values in the central zone for the cultivation of other fruits, as well as the water consumption required in other countries for this species.
"These results made us very happy, because finally the United Nations Organization is telling us that our crop is environmentally friendly. This, instead of relaxing us, has made us even more eager to continue working on our sustainability," Contardo added.