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Maura Maxwell

BY MAURA MAXWELL

@maurafruitnet

New Colombian Avocado Board created in US

Veteran US commodity board leader William Watson to head up new organisation

New Colombian Avocado Board created in US

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A new organisation has been set up to promote Colombian-grown Hass avocados in the US.

The Colombia Avocado Board (CAB) will be funded through grower volume assessments and industry according to Corpohass, the Medellín-based trade group representing Colombian growers and exporters.

“As Colombian Hass avocados are new to the US, the CAB will play an important role in bringing growers, exporters and importers together in a cohesive marketing effort which will benefit everyone throughout the distribution channel from growers all the way through to retailers, foodservice professionals and consumers,” said the group’s managing director, William Watson.

Watson, a veteran leader formerly of US mango and watermelon promotion boards, also helped set up the Orlando, FL-based CAB.

Colombian growers harvest avocados through two harvesting seasons: October to March is the main season with a secondary season of May through August.

As Colombian avocados become available for US consumers, the CAB is positioning itself to be the source of Colombia avocado information and promotional support, said Jim Donovan, CAB chairman and senior vice president of global industry affairs for Mission Produce.

“Hass avocado growers and exporters in Colombia are smart to create the CAB to help the US trade and consumers better understand their crop and its role in the marketplace.”

As Colombian avocados will increase the diversity of crop options for retailers and foodservice operators in the US, the CAB will grow to be meet the needs of avocado marketers as they educate consumers of the benefits of Hass avocados.

Logistically, the US is a natural market for Colombia because of the quick transit times required for seaboard transit to both the East Coast and West Coast.

Colombian avocado exports have grown rapidly in the past five years. Planted area has expanded from 4,730ha in 2014 to 16,673ha in 2020. Europe is the main market, followed by the US, which saw a 434 per cent rise in imports in 2019 compared to the previous year.

“The CAB will provide new opportunities for the promotion of Colombian Hass avocados in the US, the largest avocado market in the world,” said Flavia Santoro, president of Procolombia.

“This initiative will also reassure our commitment to increase sustainable production so that the exportable offer becomes even more competitive as it reaches wider and more demanding markets.”

 

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