World production of tropical fruit will reach 82 million tons in 2014, according to estimates by the United Nations` Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). This figure represents an annual increase of 1.7% over the base period (2004). 78% corresponds to major fruits (mango, pineapple, avocado and papaya) and 22% to the secondary ones (lychee, rambutan, guava ...).
90% of tropical fruits are produced in countries that are developing. However, the international trade assessment of these fruit is difficult to quantify. What is clear to the international organization is that tropical fruit production helps create jobs, increase farmers' income, food security and to reduce poverty levels.
In general, the demand for fresh tropical fruit looks favorable because it is expected to increase by 24% the volume of major imports (mango, avocado, papaya and pineapple). Forecasts indicate that by 2013 the purchases will amount to 3.6 million tons and of these, 2.6 million tons (81%) will go to developed countries. The U.S. and the European Union account for 70% of imports of tropical fruit, ahead of Japan.
Producers and exporters
Major tropical fruits are mango, pineapple, avocado and papaya. The major mango producers are India, Thailand and Mexico, for pineapple Philippines, Thailand and China. The avocado is produced in Mexico, Indonesia and the United States. Papaya is produced in India, Brazil and Mexico, mostly. Regarding the tropical fruit considered secondary, the production is concentrated in the Philippines, Indonesia and India. The largest mango exporters are Mexico, India and Brazil. For pineapple are Costa Rica and the Philippines. Chile, Mexico and Israel lead the expeditions of avocado and papaya. The market is dominated by Mexico, Malaysia and Brazil. The export of secondary fresh tropical fruit focuses on three countries: Hong Kong,
Thailand and Malaysia.
The tropical fruit market has changed considerably and now, its price (always higher than that of traditional fruit) is not based on the novelty but in product quality. What has not changed is the effect of the cost of transport in the final value of the fruit. In that sense, oil price increases result in lower net profit for the producer countries.
In 2014, FAO projections indicate that the demand will grow, although without those excellent figures obtained in the last decade. The quality of the fruit and not the price will mark in the future the choice of importing countries. The quality makes the difference in an global market that is getting every day more stocked. Therefore, exports will be conditioned by investments that producers make in R + D + i, in improving postharvest treatment, storage, cold transportation, and logistics.
The factor that may limit the export of tropical fruit are health issues. Importers require compliance of a number of health and safety requirements that determine the entry of tropical fruit in their markets. Still local farmers (especially Europeans) assure that breaches of the protocols by exporters are constant. They also reported deficiencies in the labeling and traceability.
FAO estimates that the mango harvest will be around 28.8 million tons in 2014, ie 35% of the production of the world`s tropical fruit. 69% of the total amount will be obtained in Asia and the Pacific (India, China, Pakistan, Philippines and Thailand), 14% in Latin America and the Caribbean (Brazil and Mexico) and 9% in Africa. Regarding mango production by developed countries (United States, Israel and South Africa) is estimated at 158,000 tons.
UN forecasts puts India as the world's largest mango producer with 40% of the total crop (11.6 million tons). Mexico's production will also increase to 1.9 million tons (500,000 more than in 2004).
Mango world imports will increase 1.4% in 2014 totaling 844,246 tons. The lead countries demanding this fruit are the United States and the European Union. Net purchases of EU will increase about 2.5% per year, until reaching 223,662 tons in 2014. France, the Netherlands and the UK are ahead of Spain in purchase volume.
Meanwhile, U.S. imports will increase by 1% per year until reaching 309,115 tons.
Pineapple production is expected to reach 18.7 million tons in 2014, representing 23% of the global harvest of tropical fruits. Asia-Pacific accounts for 46% of the total. However, most of this amount will go to the development and not the export as fresh fruit. The issuance of fresh pineapple is dominated by Latin America (Costa
Rica) which produces 29% of this fruit in the world.
Also the African pineapple harvest will increase. Is expected to reach 16% of production. The FAO expects the harvest of pineapples to decrease in developed countries. The decline that would be registered in the United States would be too high to be offset by the increased production of Austria and South Africa. The annual reduction will exceed 2% until 2014, compared with the base year 2004.
World imports of pineapple will also go up, namely 1.7% until 2014, up to 1.5 million tons. The figure accounts for 43% of all tropical fruits. The United States is the largest importer of fresh pineapple with a demand of 38% (586,000 tons).
According to FAO projections, the avocado harvest will amount to 3.9 million tons in 2014, and will obtain more than 86% in developing countries. Latin America and the Caribbean will be the main producing region of the world, thanks to Chile because it is one of the largest exporters of avocado.
Regarding imports, 430,128 tons are expected in 2014 (+2% pa). Developed countries will keep their shares of the market absorbing over 86% of avocados. The purchase volume acquired by emerging countires (after growing by 12% in recent years) may decline 2% annually. The U.S. and France will be the world's largest importers of avocado in 2014, with 41% and 27% of the total.
The increase of papaya harvest has been spectacular over the past decade. Brazil and India are the countries with the largest percentage increase of 6% and 19% respectively. Production is expected to continue rising until 2014, and achieve
13 million tons.
Until 2014, papaya imports will increase by 5.6% reaching 363,717 tons. The U.S. will lead market imports with a volume of 134,445 tons, while the European Union countries, will reach 12% of the total.