Mexico’s avocado industry expected to have record-breaking year

Importers of Mexican avocados expect another record-size crop of high-quality fruit.

Mother Nature made her presence known at the beginning of the deal, but it didn’t wind up having much of an effect, said Gary Caloroso, marketing director of Giumarra Agricom International, Escondido, Calif.

“There was some rain early on in Michoacan, but it hasn’t affected harvesting, and the consistent volume Mexico is supplying the United States,” Caloroso said.

Giumarra expects Mexican volumes to continue to increase because of more acreage in production now in Michoacan, and more being sent to the U.S., Caloroso said.

“Like many in our industry, we project volume to be a record 1.7 billion pounds from July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016.”

Quality should be excellent throughout the season, Caloroso said.

Mexico continues to set the industry standard, he said, for year-round production.

“Mexico gets four blooms on the tree, which is why they are the only producer to have the ability to ship avocados every day of the year. With each distinctive bloom, there is always possibility of some minor variances in the size profile, eating quality and appearance.”

Through September, about 1.6 billion pounds of avocados had shipped in the U.S. year-to-date, and 1.2 billion pounds of that came from Mexico, said Emiliano Escobedo, executive director of the Irvine, Calif.-based Hass Avocado Board.

The total from all sources compares to 1.2 billion pounds through September 2014, 14% less than this year, Escobedo said.

The jump for Mexican product is even greater. The 900 million pounds shipped through last September was 38% lower than this year’s total.

October, November and December tend to be slower months for avocado movement, but by the end of 2015, a projected 2.1 billion pounds will have shipped in the U.S.

An estimated 1.7 billion pounds of that will be Mexican fruit, up from 1.3 billion bounds in all of 2014, Escobedo said.

And that could be on the low side.

“There’s big fruit in Mexico. It could come in even higher,” Escobedo said.

To get a perspective on how much the Mexican avocado industry has grown in less than a decade, in 2007 about 479 million pounds were exported to the U.S., Escobedo said.

That’s barely more than the amount by which exports increased from 2014-15.

Escobedo doesn’t see those numbers plateauing anytime soon.

“There’s plenty of supply available in Mexico, and I feel confident that volumes in the U.S. will continue to grow.”

Mexican exports to the U.S. are increasing so quickly, in fact, that there’s less room for fruit from countries like Chile.

Chile is in many ways following a pattern set by California, Escobedo said: domestic demand is so strong, there’s little incentive to export.

“Chile has a very robust and growing domestic market. For the U.S., the volume is getting smaller and smaller every year.”

Chile does, however, still continue to ship substantial volumes to Europe, Escobedo said.

This year’s crop is peaking on 48s but also has abundant supplies of 40s and 36s, Escobedo said.

“It’s a nicely defined bell curve on sizes, slightly leaning toward big sizes. Sixties and 70s are more limited, but still available.”

Quality, he said, should be as good as ever.

“Growers have real strong programs in place to ensure quality before fruit reaches the U.S.”

Puerto Vallarta News

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