Avocado is widely consumed in Central American countries, and its consumption has also increased throughout the rest of the world. As consumption increases, so does the demand, prices, and the area cultivated, which has had a 4% annual growth rate during the last 10 years.
According to an analysis by Marcelo Muñoz, of the Department of Market Analysis and Sectorial Policy of ODEPA; in 2016 there were 563,913 hectares cultivated with avocado in the world, and worldwide production amounted to 5,567,043 tons.
According to the professional, this growing production has responded to the strong demand for this product, which in a decade went from an average consumption of 0.56 kilos per inhabitant per year, to 0.74 kilos per inhabitant per year.
Currently more than 80% of the world's avocado production is in the hands of 11 countries. Mexico leads this list with 33.9% of the world production; while Chile accounts for 2.5% of the production.
Of these countries only Chile and the United States have a production and decreasing area between 2006 and 2016, according to FAO data. This, due to some droughts that have affected the production areas for years, which has led these countries to start uprooting their avocado plantations. In Chile, the planted area of avocados is decreasing at an average rate of -1.8%.
By 2017, the commercial area (greater than 0.5 hectares) planted with avocado trees in Chile was 29,289. The plantations can be found between the regions of Arica and Parinacota and that of Biobío; 95% of the surface is concentrated between Coquimbo and Metropolitan regions.
Muñoz added that, event though Chile had more than 35 registered varieties of avocados, eight of them represented more than 99% of the surface, and four of these varieties accounted for more than 97% of the commercial surface. The Hass variety was the leading variety with 89.6% of the national surface of avocados (26,265 hectares).
Regarding exports, the professional said, Chile exports its avocados mainly to Europe (55% of the shipments of 2017 were shipped there). The main destination is the Netherlands (with 36% of the shipments, but from where the fruit is re-exported), followed by the United Kingdom (10%) and Spain (5%).
Muñoz also highlighted China as a destination, and stated that this market was becoming more and more interesting. In 2015, exports amounted to 7,164 tons, in 2016 they rose to 32,682 tons and in 2017 they reached 48,859 tons. FOB export prices have also been increasing in that market, going from USD 2.82 in 2016 to USD 2.94 per kilo FOB exported. So far in 2018, the average price has been USD 2.45 per kilo FOB exported to China.
In 2017, avocado exports amounted to 6.2 billion dollars. The United States was the biggest importer in the world, as it accounted for 44% of that amount. In 2017, the US imported more than 900 thousand tons of avocado worth 2.7 billion dollars, at an average price of USD 3.03 per kilo CIF imported, slightly higher than the world average which was USD 2.93 per kilo CIF imported that year.
Europe concentrates 39% of total imports. The Netherlands (hub) was the second biggest importer in the world, however, it re-exported 93% of the volume it imported that year, mainly to other countries in Europe.
France ranks third with 7% of the volume and an average price of USD 3.06 per kilo CIF. The United Kingdom and Spain were the fourth and fifth biggest importers of avocado.
Germany has the best average CIF price with USD 3.8 per imported kilogram, followed by Sweden with USD 3.47, Japan with 3.39, and China with 3.28. In the rest of the countries, the average is below USD 3 per kilo CIF imported.
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