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Consumptiom grows in Europe

Spain: Avocado production stagnating in Malaga

The interest of European consumers in avocados as a healthy and fashionable fruit continues to grow. So much so, that over the last four years, consumption is estimated to have grown by 65%, ​​from 281,073 tonnes in 2013 to 463,604 in 2017. According to Asaja Málaga, between January and April 2018 alone, consumption has exceeded 150,000 tonnes, compared with 135,392 in the same period of 2017. But the most significant thing is that if this growth continues at the same pace, the volume consumed in Europe by the end of the year could exceed 500,000 tonnes, which would be a new record.

However, production in Malaga remains stagnant. In the 2017/2018 campaign, a total of about 33,800 tonnes are expected, with the national production standing at 52,000 tonnes. Green skin avocados account for 7,900 tonnes, while the Hass, which is the most common variety in Malaga, accounts for another 44,100 tonnes, according to Asaja. The province produces 65% of all Spanish avocados, while Granada supplies around 30% (15,600 tonnes) and Cádiz the remaining 5% (2,600 tonnes). The total turnover has amounted to almost 142 million Euro, with prices that have ranged between 1.55 and 2.2 Euro per kilo for green skin avocados, and between 2.6 and 3.16 Euro the kilo for the Hass, according to Asaja Málaga.

For Asaja, the Spanish production is gradually losing ground in the European market, even though the product's quality is magnificent. This is partly due to the producing area's proximity to ​​the markets, which makes it possible to harvest the fruit at its optimum point of ripeness. Meanwhile, imports, which mostly arrive by sea, are harvested at least three to four weeks before they reach the consumers.

According to the agrarian association Jóvenes Agricultores, in 2013, the Spanish avocado production accounted for 14.05% of the total European consumption; however, in 2017, this share had dropped to just 7.8%. Nevertheless, the start-up of new plantations in the Region of Valencia, Cádiz and Huelva, may, in the medium term, entail an increase in the volume available and prevent the share from continuing to drop. In Malaga, for now, there are no growth forecasts, since the crop's expansion is limited due to a lack of water.

There are groups of producers who believe that the province could double its avocado production if new plantations could be set up, provided that the supply of water for irrigation could be guaranteed. "If we look at market developments in recent years, we see how Israel has managed to maintain its market share in the EU, and this is also the case for Mexico and Kenya. Colombia, which did not have any significant presence in the EU market four years ago, stood practically at the same level as Spain last season. South Africa has lost some market share and Peru and Chile maintain their leading positions. The latter two countries account for 55% of the total volume in the European market," reports Asaja.

After the end of the national campaign, which lasts from September to May, the Spanish companies devoted to the sale of this fruit have already started importing from third countries to be able to continue supplying their European and Spanish customers.


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