The avocado season has been under way for a few weeks now and avocado exports are looking good, particularly to Europe.

“The season has been very good so far,” says Clive Garrett from South African exporter ZZ2. “We had good rain earlier in the season, which means sizing is good. There also were very few quality issues. We had a few on the green varieties but, all in all, nice volumes have gone through.”

Last year ZZ2 lost a third of the crop, around 700 000 cartons, because of hail, which means anything better than that is great!!

“Volumes for avocado exports have been good, although the drought did cause a bit of strain on the trees. We possibly could have had more, but saying that, we are happy with what we have.”

The European market is very good at the moment. Chile, Spain and Israel ended relatively early, large volumes from Peru have not started to come in yet and South African suppliers have had a nice window to play with. “We have been shipping since early March. We are six weeks into the season already, and this is a normal start time. We expect volumes to increase considerably from week 18 onwards.”

Large volumes from Peru

The situation in Peru still is unclear as there was a lot of damage to the infrastructure during the heavy rains and floods. They will most probably send a large amount to the United States, though Clive is also expecting large volumes to arrive in Europe from around week 18.

ZZ2 doesn’t export many avocados to the Middle East as there is not a huge demand, but have started shipping to the Far East this season where demand is increasing.

The local market is also very good this year as it is extremely empty. “I think because the rand has taken such a dip due to the political situation and the general shortage in Europe, resulting in higher prices, people are trying to export as much as possible, leaving the local market dry. Fruit which are not quite export quality go to the local market. This is not bad fruit, but it may have a blemish on the skin for instance, and they will sell at a lower price on the local market.”

The green skin varieties are still more popular on the local market. South Africans have grown up with these, but consumers are slowly switching to the brown, dark skin varieties. – Fresh Plaza