There has been a shorter campaign this year in the entire Mediterranean area, and particularly in Spain, so "the avocado export market is currently very active," says Francisco de la Torre, of the Malaga-based firm Aguacatec La Victoria. And not just from the traditional Latin American origins, such as Mexico, "but also from Kenya, a very powerful country that is increasingly present in the avocado market."
In fact, the acreage devoted to avocados in the country has grown significantly in recent years, which will entail an equally remarkable growth when the productions reach their maximum productive potential. Between 2016 and 2021 alone, the acreage devoted to the cultivation of fruit with high export potential grew by 2.5, rapidly increasing from 10,300 hectares to almost 26,000, and all official prospects point to further increases in 2022.
"Not long ago, this was an origin you needed to seek out, but they have now taken the initiative and they are the ones making offers. Moreover, they've stepped up their game at the varietal level by focusing on the Hass variety, and they play with the advantage that the country's orography allows them to produce avocados all year round."
"Tanzania is another avocado producing country that is gaining momentum in Europe, as is Ethiopia and other countries in the region. The problem they still need to solve is sorting out the logistics, because it is a long journey by boat, and for now they are shipping by air."
"The Mexican campaign will continue until May, just when Peru will become more present and the campaign will be finishing in Spain, although this year most of the Spanish fruit was already harvested in February," says Francisco. "The temperatures in the autumn and part of the winter have been extremely warm and the avocados have ripened earlier, and the campaign has also been cut short by the lack of water."
Although only the campaign's final figures will reveal the true magnitude of this fall, experts in the sector have estimated that the losses could reach up to 40%-; and there are already concerns also about the next campaign, given that the trees have been in full bloom for another month without enough rain.
"Only the solutions adopted now will determine what the Hass avocado crop will be in 2024"
Unfortunately, "we continue with the same water issues. We are undergoing a situation of major drought that is affecting not only subtropical crops, but agriculture in general," says Francisco. "I have always vehemently argued that tropical crops are not to blame for the lack of water in La Axarquia, but the lack of infrastructure from the Administration to provide water resources to a crop that has done nothing but generate employment and wealth in the region."
"In fact, if we were given the necessary infrastructure to bring reclaimed water to this area in less than two months, there would be no shortage of water, and the losses this year would have been more limited if they had been put into operation earlier, as the sector has been demanding for years."
"Often, no important decisions are taken until we are clashing head on with the problem, but in this case, it may be too late for many people who depend on avocado cultivation to make a living; and the prominence of the fruit from Peru, Mexico, Morocco, and now Kenya, will become increasingly greater if we are not able to defend the fruit we have here."
"Last Monday, the largest irrigation community in the region of La Axarquia held a meeting in which we discussed how we are going to face the spring and summer, because not a lot of rainfall is expected. My hope is that all necessary measures will be taken to ensure the water resources are used in the most efficient manner. I also hope that the 2023/24 harvest isn't compromised, and that we can have a better campaign from November/December, when we start with the Fuerte avocado, of which we expect a great harvest this year. Only the solutions adopted now will determine what the Hass avocado crop will be in 2024," said Francisco de la Torre.
For more information:
Aguacatec La Victoria
Tel.: +34 630 494 517