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Mexico plays leading role, but trading regionally

Avocado market still growing, Holland plays big role in it

The avocado market is still growing. Around 4.5 million are harvested commercially worldwide, over 1 million tonnes (25%) of which are traded internationally. By now, the value of the international avocado trade amounts to 2.1 billion dollars. The USA is the number one importer in the world, followed by the Netherlands, which plays an important role as transit country in the international trade. The top ranking export countries are producing countries Mexico, Chile, and Peru, followed by the Netherlands in fourth (table 13). This is shown in research by Jan Kees Boon of Fruit & Vegetable facts.

The Netherlands imported 95,000 tonnes of avocados worth 190 million dollars in 2012, according to official sources (table 15a). If the export of all countries to the Netherlands was added to that, their import would have been greater than 100,000 tonnes (table 15b).

Mexico plays leading role, but trading regionally
As stated before, the world market for avocados is still growing. 2,7 million were produced at the turn of the century, and now it's up to about 4.5 million (table 1). International trade increased from not even 0.4 million tonnes to over 1 million tonnes in that same period. Mexico is by far the largest avocado producer, accounting for about 30% of the total. Mexico's share was greater in 2000. Therefore, production increased faster in the rest of the world (+76%) than in Mexico (+39%) (table 1).

At some distance, Chile is the number two producer. Nowadays, over 350,000 tonnes of avocados are harvested there. Next are three countries that produce a lot but export little, namely the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, and Colombia. Peru, the number three exporter, follows with a production of well over 210,000 tonnes by now. Spain is the first and only European country with a meaningful avocado production. At present, over 80,000 of them are harvested each year. Portugal, the other European producer, harvests less than 20,000 tonnes (table 1).

Mexico accounts for half of world trade
Nearly half of all internationally traded avocados are from Mexico (table 2). It came to nearly 500,000 tonnes valued at 0.9 billion dollars in 2012. Export increases every year, but the increase from 2010 to 2011 was very substantial. Three quarters of Mexican export is directed at their northern neighbour, the USA. Last year, 370,000 tonnes of Mexican produce went across their northern border. Japan bought a lot more Mexican avocados last year than previously: 50,000 tonnes. Canada is their third largest customer. Mexico exports about 30% of its production (table 3).

Number two producer Chile brings 30% of its production to the international trade, with the USA as their most important customer as well, and the Netherlands as number two on that list (table 4). Peru exports 40% of its production, most of it to Europe, with the Netherlands as their most important customer, followed by Spain. 2012 showed growth again, after export remained stable in the years leading up (table 5). Israel is a relatively small producer, but almost the entire harvest (90%) is sold abroad. After a big drop in export in 2011, 2012 saw an increase in export, namely 60,000 tonnes. France, the Netherlands and Russia are important customers (table 8). The Dutch (re)export is mainly aimed at Germany, but Sweden also buys a lot. France, Denmark and Norway are also important customers for the Dutch trade (table 6a).

USA biggest importer, Netherlands second
The United States are by far the biggest avocado importers. The 500,000 tonnes mark was passed in 2012. The majority comes from neighbouring Mexico (table 14). The Netherlands are the world's second largest import market. Import statistics show that it came to 96,000 tonnes valued at 190 million dollars in 2012. South Africa, Chile and Peru each supplied just under 20,000 tonnes last year. The South African import shows quite a few fluctuations from year to year. Chile and Peru provide more each year (table 15a). According to South African and Peruvian export statistics more is shipped to the Netherlands than (Dutch) import statistics show. This is partially explained by trade going to the Netherlands through other countries, such as France, Spain and Germany. As an importer, France is almost as important as the Netherlands. This country imported 95,000 tonnes in 2012. Spain is their most important supplier, followed by Peru and Israel (table 15b).

Summer and Winter season
Peru and South Africa, export countries from the Southern hemisphere, market their product mainly during our Summer season (April - September). Chile, which is also from the Southern hemisphere, enters the European market together with countries like Spain and Israel.

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Jan Kees Boon

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