Colombia's Hass avocado looks to US market

Colombia's Hass avocado production has experienced steady growth in recent years and continues to consolidate in the national and international markets.

Hass planting has increased in recent years progressively. At the end of 2018, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development registered 55,777 hectares in total, which produced 544,933 tons. A large part of this production ended up in the international market and the rest in companies that transformed the avocado into different products, such as guacamole and derivatives.

The yield per hectare has also been growing. Five years ago the average yield was 7.52 tons per hectare and at the end of 2018, it stood at 9.02 tons per hectare.

The departments that produce the most avocado are Antioquia (25.2% of the national total), Caldas (16.3%), Tolima, (14.1%), Risaralda (6.6%), and Valle del Cauca (5.3%). However, the largest producers are not necessarily the ones with the largest area. Tolima, for example, has the most land devoted to this production, 21.9% of the national total, but ranks third in production with only 14.1% of the national total. Tolima is followed by Antioquia, which accounts for 16.1% of the area devoted to this crop in the country, Caldas (14.9%), Santander (6.5%), and Risaralda (5.6%).

Supply and demand grow but not at the same rate. Sometimes production exceeds the national and international demand, which is why the avocado industry has welcomed the arrival of processing companies that transform the fruit that remains in the country into products that can be exported and distributed nationally, such as pasta or bases for industries, among other derivatives.

According to producers, it is vital to open new markets to boost Colombian avocado exports. The Ministry of Agriculture and the ICA have been working together to open new markets for this product, achieving in November the opening of the Japanese market.

Pedro Aguilar, the general manager of Westfalia, a company dedicated to the production, packaging, and sale of avocados, said that “the United States would be the quintessential market for Colombia. However, we are also seeing that the Asian market has good growth expectations and acceptance of the national fruit. Our responsibility is to diversify the destination markets a bit so that we do not depend solely on the European market.”



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