Mission Produce believes the Peruvian avocado is key to its global business

Steve Barnard, founder and CEO of Mission Produce, the world's leading avocado marketing and distribution company, believes that Peru is the key to keeping the business engine in eight countries running throughout the year. "It's a timing issue," says the executive, who adds that Camposol, Arato Peru and Beggie Peru are now 'marketing' their avocados. In total, last year, our country contributed 36 thousand tons out of the 230 thousand tons that were marketed worldwide.

Its Peruvian location also fits into the firm's strategy, as it allows it to supply China, completing the Chilean and Mexican volumes. With its own packaging plant in Shangái and an exclusive distribution agreement with an 800 store retailer, the biggest challenge for the Asian giant is to make the fruit known, says Barnard.

In that sense, he explains, they are working on their positioning as a complement to increase the milk production of nursing mothers (considering the elimination of the one-child policy) and as an ingredient for party menus. "We want to create demand," says Barnard, and makes it clear that bargaining by price is avoided.

In this regard, it is estimated that, this year, world avocado production is expected to increase by approximately 20%. This is expected to affect the value of fruit from November onwards.

It is worth mentioning that the 2017 price registered an increase of around 15%, due to the Mexican, Californian and Chilean shortages. This favored Peru, despite the harvest delays caused by the Coastal El Niño.

A New Bet
In order to secure the business from the inside (which means keeping the work force employed and to avoid increasing pressures due to its scarcity), the company plans to make incursions into two new crops for its portfolio (asparagus, limes and lemons are sold as well as avocados).

According to Barnard, through their production subsidiary, Inagro, they are testing with a couple of blueberry hectares in the Chao Valley (La Libertad) in partnership with Driscoll's.

And next year they plan to harvest the mango areas they manage in Olmos, where they acquired 2,000 hectares. 

Source: Day 1 - El Comercio

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