Lower volumes could bring more balance to European market during summer months

A projected 16 per cent decline in Peruvian Hass avocado exports this year is set to reduce the risk of an oversupplied European market this summer. According to industry body ProHass, Peru expects to ship around 468,000 tonnes in 2024, down from 558,000 tonnes last year, mainly due to unfavourable climatic conditions and a slowdown in new plantings.

Peruvian avos

Already this year, prices are 40-50 per cent above levels seen in the same week last year, although only small quantities of fruit have been shipped. This is due to lower output from Mexico, which is just finishing its main campaign, the smaller California crop and water availability issues impacting production in Spain and Portugal.

With Peruvian volumes set to ramp up in April and May, the hope is that prices will remain firm as we head into summer.

“Last year’s avocado campaign presented us it with a lot of challenges,” Sergio Torres of Camposol told Fruitnet. “Mexico had a strong season, which didn’t leave much space for other origins like Colombia and Peru in the US market, and this resulted in these countries focusing their shipments on Europe.

“Unfortunately, consumption in the European market is not keeping pace with supply. Consumption is growing at about 10 per cent a year whereas supply has been increasing by closer to 20 per cent in the past few years.”

Torres said Camposol anticipates “fairly normal volumes” for 2024, with the impact of El Niño dialing down from May onwards.

“Our hope is that the supermarkets will programme continuous promotions to keep demand fluid from the beginning of the season,” Torres said.

In addition to its farms in Peru Camposol has its own Hass production base in Colombia and sources from producers in Spain, Portugal and Morocco to complete its year-round supply.

According to Torres, the company is working hard to boost productivity levels at its Colombian farms to enable it to be more competitive in the market. He admits it has faced a steep learning curve in Colombia.

“Colombian yields are lower than in our Peru farms. We need to improve them by fine-tuning our production techniques – it’s all about better management and training,” he says, adding that the company has bought in a team of agronomists from Peru to oversee the project.

Camposol currently has 1,350ha of avocado production in Colombia, with another 1,000 ready to go. Torres says the plan to increase productive acreage by around 200ha per year.

Meanwhile, the expansion in Peruvian avocado acreage appears to have stalled. According to ProHass, acreage was growing by 12-15 per cent year-on-year, but this has virtually stopped due to a number of political, financial and logistical factors.