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Ecuador can produce avocados when other nations can't
The world has become crazy about avocados. Ecuador has also been infected by the world's rage for avocado. Avocado production and shipments abroad have increased in the last five years, said Jorge Altuna, the president of Corpoaguacate, a group that brings together the avocado producers of the country.
According to this entity, last year, for example, Ecuador exported 332 tons of avocado to various destinations. This amount represented an 41% increase over 2016. This year's goal is to export at least 40 tons more than in 2017.
Currently, producers in the country are cultivating two varieties of avocado: Guatemalan and Hass avocados. The latter is the one that international markets demands the most and its main characteristic is that it is harvested green and that its color changes to dark brown when it matures.
"It has a slightly thicker shell that allows it to travel more easily (...) it is a good traveler," said Altuna.
In recent months, Ecuador has received orders from Russia, Chile, Panama, and Central America, in some cases, to meet the deficit of domestic production in the face of growing demand.
Producer are paid $1 to 1.20 per kilo of avocado and after packing and shipping, the kilo can cost up to 7 or 8 dollars.
Avocado can be grown anywhere in the country, said the head of Corpoaguacate: from sea level areas to a valley in the Sierra. Currently, the avocado is produced in the provinces of Pichincha, Imbabura, Carchi, and Santa Elena.
According to the president of the Ecuadorian Federation of Exporters (Fedexpor), Ivan Ontaneda, Ecuador has the advantage of being able to produce avocado when other nations that have four seasons, like Chile, can't produce it. "That opens up important opportunities in markets like Europe, the Southern Cone, and why not, the United States," says Ontaneda.
However, the country has bottlenecks to export the product, Ontaneda stated, and they have to do with phytosanitary barriers from some countries. Exporters have asked the Ministry of the Environment to solve this problem through the offices of Pro Ecuador in the world. Unlocking those problems can take six to eight months, Ontaneda stated.
Publication date: 6/12/2018
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