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Peru: 2018, the worst year for Hass avocado exports

Peruvian exports of Hass avocados in this year's campaign amounted to 335,601 tons, i.e. 47% higher than the 228,956 tons shipped in the campaign of 2017, said the general manager of the Association of Hass Avocado Producers of Peru (ProHass), Arturo Medina Castro.

Despite this growth in volume, he said, 2018 is historically the worst year for Peruvian avocado exports, as prices were not adequate due to high volume and disorganized shipments.

The average price achieved in Europe in 2017 was US $2.60 per kilo, while this year it was US $1.70, he stated. Last year, the price achieved in the United States was US $3.00 and in 2018 it was US $2.00 per kilo.

"The guild had estimated it would export 280 thousand tons this year. The reality, however, was much higher. Nobody expected such a large growth. By week 41 (the second week of October) this fruit was still being dispatched," he said.

Peru had had three positive years: 2015 was good, 2016 was very good, and 2017 was spectacular, he added. However, everything was negative in 2018. The climate did not allow the avocado to reach the required percentage of dry matter on the correct date (21.5% according to Senasa, and 23% according to the partners of ProHass); as a result, when this requirement was met, the entire volume concentrated in the following weeks.

In addition, when the fall in prices was inevitable, some companies continued to export fruit. Peru shipped 800 containers of avocado per week, which is a record number. In addition, 61% of the shipments were sent to Europe, and only 21% to the United States.

Peru exported 206,601 tons of avocado to Europe, i.e. 44% more than the 143,743 tons it shipped there in 2017. The main destination countries were the Netherlands, Spain, England, France, Germany, Belgium, and Scandinavia, among others.

Peru exported 82,419 tons of avocado to the United States this year, i.e. 28% more than the 64,416 tons it shipped to that market in 2017. In 2016, avocado exports amounted to 32,717 tons.

This year, Peru exported 23,846 tons of Hass avocado to the Asian market, i.e. 125% more than the 10,607 tons it sent there in 2017. China (including Hong Kong) is the main market in this continent.

An overview of 2019
According to Arturo Medina, Peru can't continue to oversupply Europe with avocados, and that they expected that California's production (United States) wouldn't grow as much next year as it did in 2018. He also said that Peruvian exporting producers had agreed to serve the destination markets in a more orderly manner in 2019. They also think that sending the avocado to the United States is a good option.

He also said that they had much hope for the Asian market, which is just beginning to consume avocado. The main challenge is to change the habit of consumption, since they eat parboiled vegetables and don't find the color of the skin very attractive. However, the avocado has a high potential in this market because of its health benefits, he added. "ProHass will begin to carry out promotional campaigns in China in 2019," he stated.


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