The Guatemalan avocado industry is currently aiming to reach new markets as well as fill gaps in the European market. To this end, La Prensa Gráfica says the industry is seeking to organise production and increase export quality.
This is happening as European Union (EU) average apple prices remain relatively stable within a high band range during the ongoing marketing year (recently over 20% above the historical average). Poland has been diverging from the general trend with price reductions due to a level of stocks that is higher than foreseen, logistical problems and other factors.
Regarding product destinations, the internal market has been doing well but the extra-EU exports have known some difficulties. Some market opportunities were lost, such as in North Africa and the Middle East, due to logistical problems (there were not enough containers to transport the fruit).
The incoming new marketing year crop for 2021/22 is expected to be at around or slightly above 12 million tonnes, which is regarded historically as the ceiling for a « manageable » level on which a reasonable EU average price range can be obtained.
There will be, most probably, diverging MS situations depending on the degree of destruction caused by frost from average reference levels. For countries with above average supplies the option of export destinations in will be needed more than in the two preceding marketing years.
The first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, registered firm demand, and the second year a coming back to normal levels.
However, there are two harvests in Guatemala, one from November to March and the other from June to August. Producers are looking to stabilize sales and production throughout the year to have a constant market supply.
President of the Avocado Committee of the Guatemalan Association of Exporters (Agexport), Marco Quilo, said.”we have identified that in Europe avocado consumption could grow between 10% and 15% every year for the next 10 years; that is why we must stay at the forefront,”
“This is why we think it is the best time to unite all producers who are dedicated to avocado cultivation and create future alliances that allow us to continue growing in various markets”, Quilo adds.
In Europe the average per capita consumption is 1.16 kilograms of avocado while in the US it is 3.5 kilograms and in Mexico between 6.5 and 7 kilograms.
European consumption has been increasing eight percent over the last three years, according to the news source.
Jacobo Pieters, market analyst at Agexport said “the problem for the European market is not demand but supply.” The industry also wants to enter Asian and South American markets.
According to data from the Bank of Guatemala, in 2019 and 2020 exports amounted to US$7.36 million and $7.54 million, respectively.
As of last February, income for the avocado industry had already totaled $2.9 million. The main destinations are the Netherlands, the UK, Spain, Germany, France, Canada, the U.S. and Central America.
Even though there is high demand and production of the fruit, currently only 25 percent of the country’s cultivation capacity is used.
Optimisation of avocado production in Guatemala is estimated to be between 13,500 and 14,500 kilograms per hectare, a quantity that with the current quality is reduced by approximately 15 percent. The sector seeks to bring this production to 18,000 kilograms per hectare.
The initiatives the Avocado Committee will look at this year include export development projects through implementation of regulations and certifications, increase in volume and production regions and strategy renewal for the sector among other things.