Avocado is a product with a growing presence in Andalusian fields. It has renewed the offer from the southern orchards and it's already being exported to dozens of countries under the Spanish seal.
“Spain has an incredible Mediterranean climate with extraordinary conditions to produce Hass avocados. That is why Spain is the largest avocado producer in Europe and one of the countries with the best projections in the sector worldwide. The Andalusian coast is an ideal place to grow avocados. It currently concentrates more than 90% of Spain's avocado production,” stated Xavier Equihua, CEO of WAO (World Avocado Organization).
“A few years ago, the avocado was unknown to most Spaniards, who only enjoyed it in Peru or Mexico. Commercial cultivation in Andalusia started around 30 years ago in a modest way, but the fact that people now want to eat healthier has helped to increase its cultivation in the region in the last 10 years. The Axarquia de Malaga and the Subtropical Coast of Granada are the leading areas, but there are other niches of special importance in Andalusia, such as Huelva and Cadiz, where avocado is gaining ground,” he stated.
This crop is experiencing a golden moment in Europe, Equihua added. “In 2020, more than 740 million kilos were consumed in the EU and the UK alone. We have seen a spectacular 23% growth in consumption between 2019 and 2020. Spain produces 80 to 100 million kilos a year and it is the leading producer of avocados in Europe, leading the way with greater and consolidated growth. The Spanish love avocado and it has become a staple food in the modern Spanish diet."
Spain exports more than 50% of its production, which begins in December and ends in March, to other European countries, he stated. “France is its main market and last year Spain exported a symbolic container to the US.”
Avocado production and the water problem
There is a lot of misinformation regarding the sustainability of the cultivation of this fruit and the demand for water associated with its production, Equihua stated. “The avocado is an ally of the environment. People have always said producing avocados requires a lot of water, but it only requires 500 to 600 liters per kilo. Meanwhile, producing a kilo of beef requires more than 15,000 liters. Even bananas and apples need more water to produce a kilo. If we measure the nutritional return of this water consumption, there are few foods that do so well.”