Avocados are the fruits of the millennials. Globally there has been an increase in demand for avocados, but it can’t be grown just anywhere. One man is trying to have India included in the list of avocado cultivating countries, but there is still a lot of work to do.
Today there is not a single commercial avocado orchard in India. Due to the very hot climate it isn’t easy to just plant avocados and see what happens. “I’m on a very small scale, trying to test what varieties work and which do not,” says Harshit Godha, who started his company IndoIsraelAvocado for the sole purpose of starting avocado cultivation in India. “Thanks to social media, there is a large demand for the avocado. However, in India they are quite hard to come by. One would have to import avocados for the local market, but this bears many risks, even though the fruit has a lot of value. This is why I started my pilot project, where I’m trying to grow the avocado in India.”
Currently, Godha is in the process of testing the varieties that work. “So far I’ve found out it’s impossible to grow the Hass variety at my location. It’s simply too hot for the fruits to grow effectively. The greenskins and some patented Hass-like varieties, have potential. However, to run more proper tests I would have to get in touch with some of the owners of the patented Hass-like varieties who are willing to work with us. The reward would be a largely untapped domestic market in India, with a lot of consumers who would love to have easy access to avocados.”
Testing the varieties happens on a small farm of one to two acres. However, planting materials in India are not of the required quality, making everything a lot more challenging than it needs to be: “At this point I’ve been importing live plants form Israel, which comes with a high price. This is workable while we’re testing on a small scale, but eventually we’ll increase the acreage to 20-30 acres. Either growing materials in India need to improve or I’ll need a solid partner at some point, as importing live plants for that much land is simply not feasible.” says Godha.
Now once the cultivation of avocados in India is a success, Godha feels there are a lot of opportunities. “I’m not going to pretend we’ll be able to fully compete with regions like South Africa and Latin America, however I’m sure a niche market can be found, and India can have its place in the avocado growing industry. Growing avocados in those regions can be more expensive, as India has lower labor and transportation costs. India’s location could play a role in terms of reducing the costs of logistics, but we’ll know for sure further down the road.”
Godha’s dream is presenting the Indian avocados on a large exhibition, like Fruit Logistica. “Presenting my produce at an exhibition like this would mean we’ve come a really long way. For now, the goal is to achieve successful cultivation of the greenskin avocados and finding a partner that could allow us to grow Hass-like varieties would be a large step in the right direction. I for one will not give up on this dream to present my avocados in Berlin or Hong Kong.” Godha concludes.