The Asian markets hold great potential to grow avocado volumes supplied from the Americas says Tommy Padilla, senior director of international sales for U.S. based Calavo avocado growers. “Avocados are fairly new to Asia. We’re here to show our product, to talk about the handling of it and just to educate some of the handlers and consumers how to manage avocado’s and how to grow the category in Asia.”
Tommy Padilla and Fabian Garcia.
He was talking to and showing many Asian buyers what they have to offer at their stand in Hong Kong at Asia Fruit Logistica held last week. “The interest has been good. A lot of customers has been looking at avocados. It’s become a very popular item now with it being grown all over the world. From South America to Europe and now into Africa. With more production we see consumption growing even here in Asia. As a global company we ship to Japan, China, South Korea. We are starting to work more in South East Asia, but with the product being such a new product there’s a steep learning curve for them on how to handle it how to ripen and market it. A lot of our job here is just to educate the consumers and receivers on how to manage a successful avocado program,” explains Padilla.
China increases country of origin supplies
He says there’s a lot of potential to grow avocado consumption and sales in the Asian markets of Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam. “However, one of the challenges we have in our business is to get the phytosanitary processes approved for these markets. The key to a successful program in these emerging markets is to have a 12 months’ supply to these markets. China is significant because it opened for several origins. We can now ship from Mexico, Peru, California, while China just recently opened to South African avocados. The key to successful program is to have several countries of origin to supply that market. South Africa is interesting because they traditionally mostly exported to Europe. But as more trees come into production, South Africa, Mexico and even Peruvian producers need to find more channels to put the fruit, Asia is a great place for us to look.”
Keeping eye on African production regions
Padilla says they are also watching Kenya and other African countries as fast growing avocado production hubs. “Kenya is one of the fastest growing production regions, we seen from Tanzania and Mozambique too. We are keeping an eye on them, they will become more important as production grows,” states Padilla.