Avocados appear set to be in even shorter supply on the international market following the news that Kenya has banned exports of the fruit due to a reported severe shortage within the country.
An official from the Directorate of Horticulture, Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) told Business Daily that the average price for a 90kg bags of avocados soared to Sh2,560 (€20.37) in December, the highest since May 2014.
The AFA attributed the shortage in part to an off season for popular varieties Fuerte and Hass. “Fuerte variety will start getting to the market next month while Hass will be in supply in March, bridging the current deficit and reversing prices to the previous lows,” the organisation’s director-general Alfred Busolo noted.
Kenya, the world’s sixth-largest avocado exporter, is among a number of countries to have benefited from the recent global spike in demand for the product over the past five years.
In 2016, it shipped just over 50,000 tonnes to foreign markets, an 18 per cent increase on the volume sold in 2012. Over the same period, its avocado export earnings rose by 23 per cent to US$97.9m.
In Australia, meanwhile, a shortage of the fruit is said to have prompted self-imposed rationing among a number of foodservice outlets, most notably in Queensland.
“This time last year they probably would have been down to A$45-A$50 a tray and now we’re paying A$95 a tray,” Madeleine Crawford, a head chef based in Cairns, told ABC.
Wholesaler Anthony Joseph told Ten Eyewitness News that the sharp increase in prices was the result of a global shortage: “With production being down in Mexico, which has then proceeded to put pressure on other markets as seasons come along,” he commented, adding that a normal seasonal dip in Western Australia’s supply had coincided with a 40 per cent crop shortfall in New Zealand.
As Fruitnet reported back at the end of August 2017, many suppliers are struggling to keep up with rapidly increasing demand for avocados – especially in Europe – making the prospect of market shortages altogether more likely in future