According to Agexport, Guatemala exports 70% of its avocado to Europe, and the remaining is distributed among Central American countries. However, Guatemala aspires to gain access to the United States, a coveted market that is currently restricted to Guatemalan producers.
“Guatemala has good potential to enter other markets, taking advantage of its competitive and comparative conditions, free trade agreements, and trade agreements. The country has already started the different processes to gain access to the United States and other markets, such as South Korea, Japan, Chile, and Argentina,” stated Hochstetter, the director of the Board of Directors of the Agexport Avocado Committee. The results of these initiatives are reflected in the export data. In 2021, the sector grew by 39.86% over the previous year. The momentum continued in 2022 when the sector grew by 19% compared to the previous year.
The reasons behind the limitation
The country initiated the Hass avocado eligibility process for the US in 2004. To achieve this goal, the Agricultural Health Inspection Service (APHIS) must carry out several studies and analyses, stated Gloria Polanco, president of the Agexport Avocado Committee.
Currently, the country is waiting for the response of the USDA/APHIS regarding the mitigation measures they propose for each of the pests that the US authorities consider a risk.
The ministry has carried out four monitoring tests in the past two years to detect pests on production farms. The fifth phytosanitary monitoring was recently carried out on 67 farms.
“Guatemala's phytosanitary authority, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food (MAGA), plays a fundamental role in these processes because the negotiations between countries are bilateral or multilateral,” Hochstetter stated.