The rapid expansion of avocado cultivation in Peru has currently positioned the country among the world's largest exporters of this fruit, with shipments that in 2021 exceeded 1 billion dollars. Since April, Peru has been exporting the largest volumes of this campaign which, according to Omar Diaz, the general manager at Westfalia Fruit Peru and Westfalia Fruit Colombia, the sector expects to achieve new growth.
"The final numbers still need to be defined; however, we think there will be an approximately 7% increase in volume, and it mainly happens at the earliest stage of the campaign. A significant amount of avocado has been planted, mainly in Olmos and in the Sierra in recent years, and that is increasing the volume, especially in the months of April and May. "
"Westfalia Fruit Peru exports Peruvian avocados from January to the end of August. We are one of the companies that export avocados from Peru for more months; though we have also started working since last week with avocados from Colombia, from where we export the product 10 months of the year. The goal of our company is to ensure a constant global supply throughout the year, so not only have we added Colombia, we're also working in coordination with our colleagues in Chile," Omar said.
"In Peru, in general, the aim is to diversify the sales channels for avocados and Westfalia Fruit Peru also works in that line so that we can have more stable results throughout the season. Currently, exports to Europe account for nearly 40% of our total fruit volume. The rest is shipped to the United States, South America, and Asia."
"Asia, in fact, is an extremely important and growing market for us. Westfalia Fruit Peru is one of the two companies that export the most avocados from Peru to Asia. Japan, South Korea, and China are our main markets."
“Any growth, however small, in China would be a significant growth in volume”
Due to its magnitude and enormous potential volume of consumption, Asia is a very desirable market for many exporters and, in particular, for products such as avocado, whose success in the rest of the world still has the possibility of replicating itself in a territory that concentrates approximately 60% of the world's population and in which the fruit is still in the process of consolidation.
“The Chinese market just started to develop a few years ago. However, it's not growing as expected due to the pandemic. Under these circumstances, the promotional work has been very small for the past 2 years. However, we believe that the potential is there and that China will be one of the markets with the most dynamic growth in the coming years. Due to the huge population it has, any growth in China, however small it may be, would lead to significant growth in volume," Omar Diaz stressed. "Another important point is that, currently, the highest percentage of avocados sold in China is sold green. In the coming years, we expect to start selling ready-to-eat fruit and, as in all countries, when the sale of this type of fruit increases, consumption tends to grow as well."
"For now we export more volume to Japan and South Korea, despite the population difference with China, so we see that the potential is enormous and that we will grow in that market. Not only there, but also in India. However, it will all depend on logistics."
New Westphalia Plant in Peru.
In the last two years, logistics has become a problem that has gone from being an "Achilles heel" for the export sector to a real "sword of Damocles" in many ways. Global export flows have been impacted by the high freight prices and their scarcity. In addition, the delays in arrival have affected the conditions of the fruit at the destination.
“Westphalia is always working on new technologies that allow us to reach distant destinations. In China this year we have had the additional challenge of port closures due to quarantines that forced us to move fruit to other alternative ports. However, the technology we've developed allowed us to handle it with care and maintain the good quality of the fruit that arrived. Now the situation is normalizing a bit and that will possibly allow us to export higher volumes in the coming weeks."
"This year, Westfalia Fruit Peru plans to grow its total volume by 10%. In Europe, we'll grow by about 6%, since the market is more developed for Peruvian fruit, and our greatest growth will be in the developing markets of Asia and the United States, where we'll grow by 20%. In fact, we currently project that prices in the United States will be better than in Europe, where there is still a fairly great pressure for Spanish fruit since its campaign has been lengthened compared to other years. Prices are also more stable in Asia.”
Nursery in Ayacucho, Peru.
"Colombian avocado export volumes will continue to increase rapidly"
Westfalia Fruit Peru has been developing strategic relationships for 20 years with its avocado suppliers in Peru who they closely accompany and provide with technological innovation services, technical support, and certifications. In addition, they supply them with quality clonal plant material to help them increase their plantations, productivity, profitability, and competitiveness in a market with increasing competition.
"Currently, we export fruit from 14 different regions of Peru and that has allowed us to continue consolidating ourselves as one of the sector's leading companies. We have just finished the construction of our first packing house in the south of Lima, which will allow us to continue improving our sales with top-quality fruit. From Peru, we plan to export 46,000 tons of avocado this year throughout the season and from Colombia 11,000 tons more,” Omar stated.
A packing house in Sonsón, Colombia.
“As an avocado supplier, Colombia is definitely going to be an important player in the global arena. In the last year, growth has not been so high due to the meteorological conditions of the La Niña phenomenon. The productivity per hectare was not as expected because of this weather event. However, the fields have been developing adequately in many sectors and we think that Colombia's avocado export volumes will continue to increase rapidly," Omar concluded.
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