The Spanish avocado industry is expecting to see greater production and exports this season now getting underway.
Celestino Recatalá, president of the Association of Avocado Producers (Asoproa), told FreshFruitPortal.com expectations for the season are "highly favorable" and that "they have already seen a rise in production relative to last year".
Although it is early to gauge the quality of this year’s production, avocados seem to be high-quality so far.
Further, he said that there are newer farms that are going to enter into production this season.
The main importer of Spanish avocados is the European Union. Spain estimates that it will send approximately 90,000 metric tons (MT) to this market, according to Recatalá.
Last season the country produced around 70,000MT.
Recatalá claimed that European consumers appreciate Spanish avocados not only for their quality but also for their environmental impact.
“In the first place, it is a product that is in close proximity which has a smaller environmental impact and arrives fresh,” he said.
He added that Spanish avocados are guaranteed a certain level of sanitation, security and quality.
Predictions for Spanish avocados
France is the principal market for Spanish avocados. Next comes Germany, the UK and the Netherlands.
In addition, said Recatalá, they would like to grow in the Swiss market. “It is evident that the demand continues growing and that we should satisfy that as much as we can,” he expressed.
New varieties of avocados mean that Spain can begin supplying avocados year-round. “The Hass variety, primarily in Spain, does not start to harvest the bulk of its production until December,” he said.
As a result, there are growers who plant earlier cultivars like Carmen or Maluma.
However, the most important thing for Asoproa is “that the Spanish avocado succeeds in differentiating itself in the eyes of the consumer both in the short and long term”.
Robberies of avocados in Valencian farms
On 15 Oct., the Valencian Association of Agriculturalists (AVA-ASAJA) and Asoproa denounced a wave of avocado robberies. The majority of these occurred in Camp de Morvedre in Valencia. This will considerably affect the economic viability of the area.
Regarding this, Recatalá said that these robberies “have caused a drastic loss in profitability”.
After farmers reported the incidents, security forces have increased their vigilance both in the farms and in places where the avocados are sold.
“We believe that the robberies are going to diminish the harvest in a meaningful way. Undoubtedly, if some fruits are stolen when they are extremely green, they would supposedly be a health risk for the consumer,” said Recatalá.