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2023 Global Avocado Trade Review: Abundant Supply and Low Prices

February 09, 2024

According to the Major Tropical Fruits Market Review – Preliminary Results 2023 report recently released by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the total value of global trade in major tropical fruits (defined as avocados, guavas, mangos, mangosteens, papayas and pineapples) is estimated to have reached a record-breaking $11.2 billion last year. This represents a strong year-on-year increase of 12%, as well as surpassing the previous peak of $10.3 billion registered in 2021 by a substantial 9%.

Despite comprising only 34% of the global trade volume, avocados are estimated to have accounted for approximately 60% of the global trade value because of their high average unit price.

Exports

Owing to abundant supply from Mexico, the world’s largest supplier, global avocado exports are estimated to have grown by 20% in 2023, reaching a total of 3 million metric tons. Preliminary data also indicate rapid growth in exports from other suppliers, most notably Peru and Kenya.

The data currently available indicate that Mexico’s avocado exports grew by 27% in the first seven months of 2023 with an estimated total of 1.5 million metric tons for the whole year, which would represent an increase of approximately 300,000 metric tons compared with the previous year. This strong recovery came after a challenging 2022 characterized by production losses and insufficient export supplies due to adverse weather conditions. Data provided by the Mexican government in April 2023 indicated that there would be a 10% expansion in avocado cultivation area and a 6% increase in output in 2023, signaling continued substantial investment in the industry. However, the increased supply caused the average export unit price for the first seven months of 2023 to fall to $2,186 per metric ton, corresponding to a decline of approximately 49% compared with the same period of the previous year.

Peru’s avocado exports have continued to benefit from favorable weather conditions and investments in expanding production, resulting in greater supply and superior fruit quality. Current trade data show a 10% year-on-year rise in Peru’s avocado exports during the first eight months of 2023, with an estimated total of 630,000 metric tons for the whole year. This robust performance has solidified Peru’s position as the world’s second-largest avocado supplier. In addition, the country’s trade success has been assisted by relatively low prices, with the average export unit price for Peruvian avocados standing at $1,596 per metric ton during the first eight months of 2023, approximately 20% lower than that for Mexican avocados during the same period.

Kenya is an emerging player in the global avocado market and Africa’s leading exporter of the fruit. The country’s avocado exports are estimated to have totaled 130,000 metric tons in 2023, an increase of 24%. Over half of Kenya’s avocado exports are sent to the European Union, where the relatively low prices of Kenyan avocados make them very competitive on the market. In the first eight months of 2023, the average export unit price for Kenyan avocados stood at $1,100 per metric ton.

South Africa’s avocado exports are estimated to have grown by 7% in 2023, reaching approximately 68,000 metric tons, with the European Union serving as the primary overseas market. According to current trade data, the average export unit price for South African avocados in the first nine months of 2023 was $2,048 per metric ton, representing a year-on-year increase of 8%.

Chile’s avocado exports are estimated to have decreased by nearly 40% in 2023, totaling around 67,000 metric tons. This decline is reportedly attributable to spring frosts in September 2022 negatively affecting the growing cycle. Another factor impacting avocado exports from Chile is strong demand from domestic consumers.

Imports

According to the FAO report, global avocado imports are estimated to have increased by 17% to 2.8 million metric tons in 2023, driven by greater supplies. The primary importing markets, namely, the United States and European Union, maintained robust demand, accounting for an estimated 44% and 27%, respectively, of global imports.

The United States is estimated to have imported 1.2 million metric tons of avocados in 2023, marking a 15% increase. In a typical year, approximately 90% of U.S. avocado imports originate from Mexico, and the substantial rise in supply from Mexico in 2023 resulted in an oversupply situation. Trade data for the first eight months of 2023 indicate a 33% year-on-year decrease in the average import unit price in the United States, which dropped to $2,325 per metric ton.

The estimated import volume for the European Union in 2023 was approximately 780,000 metric tons, an increase of 15%. Severe drought significantly impacted avocado production in Spain, leading to a 32% increase in imports during the first eight months of the year. During the same period, imports into Poland and Germany also rose by 24% and 10%, respectively.

Image: Pixabay

This article was translated from Chinese. Read the original article.

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