In many cases, the avocado is grown on land that was previously devoted to the production of oranges and clementines.
Currently, the Valencian Community has 2,800 hectares of avocado, a crop that has rapidly expanded throughout the community and, according to Celestino Recatala, the vice president of the Valencian Farmers Association (AVA-Asaja) and president of Asoproa (Association of Avocado Producers), has an annual growth of about 600 hectares; in many cases, in lands previously dedicated to the production of citrus.
There are two main reasons for this development, Recatala stated, the avocado has fewer pests and producers are paid a good price for it. Producers can be paid some 2.40 euro for a kilo of avocado while they only get paid around 0.40 euro for their citrus fruits, on average. A hectare of avocado can yield about 15,000 kilograms of product and a hectare of citrus can double that figure; which is still not enough for citrus producers to achieve the same economic results as avocado producers.
In addition to the lack of water in certain areas, such as Malaga, one of the great problems facing the avocado sector is the increase in competition worldwide, since avocado production is expanding around the globe and countries such as Kenya, Morocco or Colombia are increasing their number of farms, Recatala stated.
Another challenge for producers is the gap between production and consumption. Consumers in Europe purchase two kilos of avocados per year, while in Spain this figure drops to 1.2 kilos. At the moment, the country consumes around 55 million kilos of avocado a year and, according to forecasts, it will increase its consumption to 80 million kilos in the coming years. However, it would still be below the 90 million kilos it produces, according to Recatala.