The Hass avocado season is underway in Spain after the recent start of the harvest, mainly in the provinces of Malaga and Granada.

The latest rains have served to fill the water reservoirs, which the sector really needed, and will also facilitate the fruit's growth on the tree in the coming months, as pointed out by the president of the Spanish Association of Tropical Crops, José Linares.

According to the representative, avocado prices at origin are very reasonable, "standing at similar averages to those of last season, which was undoubtedly a very good year," he affirms. "The large sizes are the best paid at the moment, given that there is an abundance of small calibres in the market, coming mostly from Chile."

Spain expects a harvest of between 60,000 and 70,000 tonnes. "The quality of the avocados this year is really good, and this plays in our favour in the European markets, where they reach higher prices than the fruit from other origins," he says.

The interest in avocado production in Spain is growing every day; so much so, that there are waiting lists of more than two years to acquire avocado plants in several Spanish provinces. In Malaga, it is more difficult to expand due to the lack of water, but production is on the rise in the Spanish Levante, mainly in Valencia, as well as in the south of Portugal, in the Algarve area.

"Although we could plant an additional 10,000 hectares, in Malaga we have a significant water limitation to continue expanding the avocado acreage, and we hope that the public administrations can provide us with a solution soon. The product's consumption is growing worldwide. Europe consumes around 400,000 tonnes per year and the Spanish production only accounts for 15% of the total. I believe that if we produced more, we would become stronger and we could get more competitive prices."

In any case, José Linares warns that producing avocados is not something simple. "In Spain we have the pending issue of improving the yields per hectare, which are still low compared to other producing countries, like Israel."