Israel is expecting to produce 120 000 tons of avocados this year compared to the 90 000 tons of last year. “The avocado season started a week earlier than usual in Israel”, says Eitan Zvi from Galil Export. “This year is an ‘on’ year.”
“The main increase in production is in the Greenskin varieties”, says Eitan. “An increase of about 10 000 tons will have a definite influence on the market compared to the last shortage". Hass production has also increased by about 8 000 tons. “This is not dramatic. It is like an average week’s production in Peru….”
He goes on to say that they are expecting to export 71000 and 72000 tons of avocados. “Last year, this was 53 000 tons. Greenskins will make up about 42 000 tons of this and 29 000 tons will be Hass. Europe remains their main market.
Market is improving
“This market was bad, but at the moment it is improving”, Zvi continues. “It received a nice volume of Hass - 12 000 or 13 000 tons and a record volume of Greenskins - 3 000 tons. That caused a sharp decline in the Greenskins market prices to a level of around EUR5. Currently, there is a nice volume of Greenskins, not as much as a couple of weeks ago. This market is stable and will improve toward the holidays.” In a nutshell, Eitan puts it this way, “The demand for avocado is still increasing in Europe. However, during the summer the supply increased more than the demand.”
“In the last couple of weeks we saw a modest volume of Hass in the market. Peru is out and South Africa is almost out. Chile is entering the market, but not with huge numbers. So, we see increased sales of the Chilean product for up to EUR9. Prices might even reach EUR10. The avocado market in Europe has been slightly depressed because of these high volumes. Going forward there will be a reduction in volumes and a better market”, he says.
Zvi says that although there is pressure on the European market from countries like Peru, this does not occur during the Israeli season. “Peru does, however, influence the Hass market during the summer months. We have seen some low prices of EUR 5 to EUR7. We have not seen these for a few years”, he explains. “There is also competition from countries like Chile, Mexico, Colombia, and even Spain. That is tough competition, I must say.”
The acreage used for avocado plantation in Israel is increasing but not significantly. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, there is a shortage of the actual plants. “This has been the case for many years. It takes two to three years to procure plants”, says Eitan. “Secondly, all the good land to grow avocados on in Israel has been taken. Overall, there is an increase, but not on a massive scale.”