Avocado prices have increased more than usual at this time of the year because of the decrease in avocado production in Tenerife due to the wind and harsh storm that the island experienced on February 22 and 23. In some establishments, avocados are sold for up to ten euro per kilo.
The president of the Association of Organizations of Producers of Avocados of the Canary Islands (Asguacan), Wenceslao Martinez-Barona, said the sector wasn't only affected by that storm in February, which knocked to the ground 80% of the fruit that hadn't been harvested, as there was a previous windstorm with gusts of up to 80 kilometers per hour that is estimated to have caused losses of up to 20% of their total production. "The winds were very strong and they affected large producing areas, such as the La Orotava Valley, where there are practically no avocados now," he said.
Harvesting ahead of time
Martinez-Barona said that some producers were harvesting the avocados of the Fuerte variety ahead of time to try to face the high demand there is at the moment but that this variety isn't ready to be harvested yet. "It is a hoax," the producer said. "This variety still doesn't have enough fat to mature, which in this case is 21%."
The president of Asguacan said that they had already reported this practice to the Canarian Institute of Agricultural Food Quality (ICCA) to try to stop this type of action. "The association wants to control this type of thing. The avocado being harvested isn't ready to be consumed and people are being scammed," he stated.
According to Martinez-Barona, prices will begin to fall in October, albeit not as much as in previous years. The Hass avocado harvest starts in November, he said. However, the trees in some producing areas have few fruits this year because the strong gusts of wind that affected the sector in February not only wiped out the fruit that was already in the avocado trees, but also destroyed the flowers they had at that time, affecting this year's harvest.
Martinez-Barona trusts producers will try to adjust prices; otherwise many consumers will be unable to buy this fruit because of the economic crisis.