Exportadora Santa Cruz commercial director Jorge Covarrubias says the company’s first shipments of Hass avocados to China for the season are currently on the water, with the first containers set to arrive at the end of the month.
The group was able to send small volumes to the Chinese market after it was opened up for Chilean avocados last year, but the milestone was only at the end of the season.
Now that the Chilean industry has a whole campaign ahead, Covarrubias is optimistic given there has been a good amount of dry matter in the fruit, which is important for ensuring quality and meeting market requirements.
“We sent the first container (20 metric tons) two weeks ago and last week another left,” he toldwww.freshfruitportal.com.
“As dry matter keeps increasing in different orchards, this program will be increasing week on week in China.”
He said it was still uncertain how much fruit would be sent to China this season, as everything depended on conditions in other markets too, such as Europe and the U.S. where returns have also been high.
“However, I think China will grow to a more significant percentage this season,” he said, clarifying the biggest challenge was the transit time but last year Santa Cruz’s Chinese customers gave positive feedback.
Santa Cruz grows avocados on around 2,000 hectares of land, with projections it will ship 1.4 million boxes this year.
When asked about prospects in Europe, Covarrubias pointed to high consumption rates in Germany in particular.
“The growth in Germany has been extraordinary. Four years ago you practically couldn’t see Hass in the country, they ate only greenskins. Then they realized that Hass is much tastier and now our main customers are in Germany,” he said.
On the other hand, markets like Scandinavia, England, Switzerland and Spain have also brought good returns.
“There is a market in Europe that keeps developing with growth rates of 14-16% annually in volume.”
Closer to home, exports to Argentina continue to show strength as well, with the neighboring country importing 10,000-11,000 metric tons (MT) per year.
“It is the market that has taken the most avocados these last two or three weeks. Volumes have been growing every year.”