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European market will not be flooded - SAAGA

South Africa predicts largest avocado crop to date

The South African avocado industry is expecting a healthy export crop of 58,000 tonnes. The first shipments will be arriving in Europe towards the end of March and the season will continue to the end of October.

“Although this will be South Africa’s largest export crop to date, it is not foreseen that the European market will be oversupplied,” says Mark Baker, Chairman of the South African Avocado Growers’ Association (SAAGA), “Peru will be channelling a greater proportion of its export avocados to the USA, due to reduced supply from the Californian avocado industry”.

Reports from California are that its 2014 crop will be around 136,000 tonnes compared to 227,000 tonnes in the previous season. It is expected that Peru, which supplies Europe at the same time as South Africa, will move much of its 2014 growth in production into the USA market to exploit the opportunity provided by a reduced Californian crop.

“If one analyses the forecast production of countries which supply the USA and Europe during the Northern Hemisphere summer (South Africa, Peru, Brazil, California, Kenya and Mexico), total production will be marginally lower in 2014 (1.879 t) compared to 2013 (1.906 t),” commented Derek Donkin, SAAGA’s Chief Executive.

Avocado consumption in the European market is growing. In 2003, total consumption was 145,000 t.

In 2013 consumption was 279,000 t. It is expected that this growth trend will continue in Europe where per capita consumption levels (0.56 kg/person/year) are still way below the USA (2.4 kg/person/year).

“We are confident that the South African industry will be able to maintain a reliable supply of good quality avocados throughout the European summer to meet growing demand,” concludes Mark Baker.

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