Ricardo Cautín, professor at the Catholic University of Valparaíso, Chile, participated last Thursday in a technical conference organized by the Spanish Association of Tropical Fruit Producers, held in Vélez-Málaga. He spoke about the need for intensive farming to address the low yields per hectare achieved in the Spanish cultivation areas (mainly Malaga and Granada), compared to those obtained in South American countries.
The application of intensive techniques, which remain uncommon in Spain, will be an advantage in the face of the shortage of water resources, which prevents the expansion of the acreage devoted to avocados and an increase in the productive yield per hectare.
Cautín pointed out that it is necessary to move forward in research on avocado cultivation in Spain to address issues such as the concentration of the flowering. In Spain, the flowering takes place in a short period of several weeks, while in Chile, for example, it lasts for three months.
He also addressed the "big problem" of water scarcity in southern Spain, the main avocado production area in continental Europe, and said that there are farms whose water supply is 50 percent below of what would be advisable. This shortens the growth and results in fruit with a lower weight and lower yields. To alleviate this problem, Cautín has proposed a better management of wastewater and its reuse for avocado cultivation, as is already done in Israel.
In spite of these difficulties, he highlighted the strengths of Spanish avocados, which have their own identity in Europe "and are grown very close to the European market," which is an advantage for their marketing..