Colombian growers are seeing an opportunity to gain a larger share of the international avocado market. According to ProducePay’s Field Ops team, growers of this fruit are establishing new orchards and renewing trees to obtain higher volumes in 2023 and beyond.
A review of USDA data shows that in the last 5 years (2018-2022), the United States has imported more than 26,000 metric tons of Colombian avocados. While this volume is minimal compared to primary suppliers, such as Mexico, Peru and the Dominican Republic, it does show that the product has significant marketing opportunities.
ProducePay’s Field Ops team has observed that Colombian avocado growers are establishing new and small orchards. One of the reasons behind this change is the need to renew trees, as many orchards are old and do not produce the same yields as before.
Another reason behind this transition is the growing demand for avocados in international markets, which many Colombian growers see as an opportunity to expand their business and increase their income by producing avocados for export.
The opportunity for Colombian producers
FAOSTAT data indicates that Colombia is the second largest producer of avocados, yet it ranks sixth in terms of exports. Given the significant increase in the consumption of this fruit globally, the Colombian avocado industry has a great opportunity to grow its export market.
To take advantage of this opportunity, it is important that Colombian growers invest in technology and in training growers to improve crop quality and productivity. In addition, the country should focus on exporting high quality avocados that meet international standards such as:
- ISO Standard ISO 1266:2019. which establishes requirements and guidelines for the classification, packaging and labeling of fresh avocados.
- Codex Alimentarius Commission standards.
- Phytosanitary regulations established by bodies such as the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC).
Destinations being conquered by Colombian avocados
Although the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States are the main export destinations for Colombian avocados, the demand for this fruit is growing globally.
For example, in Europe, avocado has become a popular option for its flavor and versatility. Countries such as Spain, Belgium, France and Germany are expanding their supply of Colombian avocados in supermarkets and specialty stores, and they each imported 11,807, 5,913, 5,462, and 3,645 tons respectively in 2021 (according to FAOSTAT), representing a total value of 53 million dollars.
But Europe is not the only growth opportunity for Colombian avocados. In Asia, where consumption of this fruit is growing rapidly, Colombia is also opening markets, especially in countries such as China, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, where the avocado is gaining ground with consumers.
Are Colombian avocados seeking to compete with Mexican avocados?
The Colombian avocado is enjoying growing demand in international markets. However, competition with Mexico, a country that is one of the largest avocado producers and exporters in the world, cannot be ignored.
Despite this, the Colombian avocado industry is not seeking conflict or controversy with its Mexican counterpart. On the contrary, the objective is to achieve cooperation between growers in both countries. Collaboration between Mexican and Colombian avocado producers can generate important benefits for both countries, as well as for consumers around the world.
This is because the diversity of climates and soils in both countries allows for year-round production, which could satisfy the growing global demand for avocados. In addition, research and technology cooperation could contribute to improving agricultural practices and product quality.
In the following months, avocado growers in Colombia will need to rely on flexible and appropriate financial solutions to be able to make the necessary investment in avocados. Furthermore, technological platforms can help them expand their market to new countries in the Americas and Europe.
Sources: USDA, FAOSTAT, USTA, Analdex, Fresh Fruit Portal, Produce Blue Book