South African avocados still encounter ‘insatiable demand’

An enduring, strong demand for avocados is expected to keep prices stable during 2021 as global players start entering the Asian market. While in the past, demand for avocados was driven by consumers in the US and EU, now Asia is seen to be catching up quickly.

According to Paulina Theologou, Westfalia’s group commercial executive, although South Africa did not yet have market access in China, the fact that Columbia, one of the world’s largest producers, had access to this market alleviated pressure on the EU market.

“Much of the global production already goes to the EU, including most of South Africa’s crop. So, we are facing a lot of competition. Keeping prices sustainable will depend on ensuring that there are no gluts on the market. But I believe that it will be at least another decade before we reach this level. Once demand really takes off in India and Asia, there will not be enough supply to service these markets.”

Theologou noted that the Middle East was another market that South Africa needed to target for avocado exports, since the country was one of few production regions close enough to make exports viable.

Derek Donkin, CEO of the South African Subtropical Growers’ Association (Subtrop), said the COVID-19 pandemic had delayed proceedings for gaining access to markets in Asia: “Chinese authorities have now started with pest risk assessments, which is very encouraging.” reports that this year will probably see a slight increase in the crop due to new areas coming into production.

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