Spain strengthens its position as an avocado producer

The consumption of avocados in Europe continues to grow at an annual rate of around 15 percent and this places Spain, the only European producer of this subtropical fruit, in a position of strength and "with plenty of opportunities" in this market.

Eric Imbert, researcher of the Centre for International Cooperation in Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD) of France, made this statement during his participation in Vélez-Málaga in a conference organised to analyze the importance of the agro-food sector to the Spanish economy.

Speaking to reporters, Imbert stressed that there is currently no other type of fruit developing as much as avocados, as it has new consumer markets that are currently "taking off", such as the United Kingdom, Germany or the Scandinavian countries, and others with a lot of potential for growth, as is the case of Italy.

According to this expert in fruit markets, the increase in consumption is accompanied by rising prices, because customers are willing to pay a little more for a product that is now "of better quality" because of all the work that has been done with the pre-ripening and the natural avocado.

He has insisted that, when in-season, which is in winter, the avocados grown in Spain play "an important role," compared to those from Mexico or Chile, and their price is always higher, which is explained by the proximity of the production areas and the fact that they can be supplied at their best in terms of ripeness.

"Spanish avocados can be in France in just 24 hours, compared to the three weeks it takes the fruit to arrive from Chile or Peru, and this is an important advantage for Spain, which can harvest the fruit when it is at its best," he added.

The researcher believes that breaking the seasonality of the Hass variety, the most demanded by the European market, would be "difficult," and has opted to try to extend its campaign with earlier or later varieties.

As for the possibility of the US setting tariffs on Mexican avocados, as President Donald Trump announced, Imbert has pointed out that it would be dangerous, since Mexico exports one million tonnes to its northern neighbour and if only 10 percent of that production was redirected to Europe, the market would undergo severe changes.

However, he assured he doesn't think this will happen, since the US "wants those avocados, and replacing them with local production from California would involve a lot of labour that would be carried out by Mexican immigrants and Mr Trump would not like that at all."

Source: EFE

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