Smaller fruit drops Peruvian avocado projection
Peruvian avocado exports are expected to increase this year. In January, the Association of Hass Avocado Producers of Peru (ProHass) announced a 12.5% increase in exported volume year-on-year, reaching 29,023 containers (624,000 tons). However, the Association’s latest projection indicates actual growth of between 5% and 10%.
According to Juan Carlos Paredes, president of ProHass, projections are down due to smaller fruit sizes as a result of weather events including high temperatures, and rainfall on the north coast which slowed harvest.
Decreased fruit weight reduces volume expectations for the next few weeks.
Paredes notes that given the size of the hanging fruit, currently, estimated volumes are not at all what was initially projected.
The announcement is good news for Peru’s avocado industry because, with the decrease in volume, they expect to have the appropriate amount of fruit to regulate the demand of the European and Asian markets with Peruvian supply to keep prices up.
During the last decade, Peru has had average growth in planted areas of 13% per year, reaching about 150,000 acres of Hass avocado.
In the last three years, the increase of areas has occurred mainly in the highlands of Peru, far from the traditional agro-exporting Coast.
Peruvian Hass avocado production includes more than 20,000 small producers with about five acres.
“Having new producers all around the country means that we have produced in earlier months, outside of the typical months of May to July. For example, this year, avocado exports up to week 21 (May 21) had increased 60% year-on-year, with less than half of the campaign still remaining,” Juan Carlos Paredes, president of ProHass tells FreshFruitportal.com.
“This means that two-thirds of Peru's growth this year will occur in areas harvesting at earlier periods than the typical Peruvian curve,” indicates Paredes.
Delays from other origins
Regarding delays from other sources, Paredes says that the delay of Kenyan fruit is causing it to clash with Peruvian avocado supplies in Europe.
“Although it is true that this source (Kenya) does not compete for now in terms of quality with Peruvian avocados, its presence in the market does increase the amount of fruit available, especially in small sizes,” Paredes indicates.
In the U.S., California producers have reached 20% of their harvest, with a considerable delay due to weather issues and an abundance of Mexican fruit.
“California will be shipping to the U.S. market during the usual season of Peruvian avocado. This is negative for Peru because typically the market consumes a maximum of 60 million pounds, with 20 million pounds from California and 40 million pounds from Mexico, so the window for Peruvian fruit arrivals is reduced to a minimum, until one of those two origins lowers its supply,” states Paredes
Peruvian supply to the U.S. should begin in mid-June when the Mexican supply is expected to drop.
Projections for Peruvian avocado
Peruvian avocado growth has been turning heads in the last few years. However, to keep demand and sustain the volume being produced, there must be a plan in place.
“If Peru focuses on producing good quality fruit in the coming years it will be able to distinguish itself from the rest of the world's supply, this position has already been won in Europe and the battle is being fought in the USA,” says Paredes.
He adds that Peru's objective should be to produce consistently and reduce annual on-off variations; regulating fruit loads by tree age as well as the amount of fruit per tree helps maintain freshness and increase fruit quality, and this is something that the Peruvian industry is clearly understanding.