A Dec. 31 rule from the U.S. Department of Agriculture said avocados from continental Spain will be allowed into the U.S. as of Jan. 30 if certain phytosanitary conditions are met. Under the terms of the approval, Spanish agricultural officials must certify that the fruit is free of all quarantine pests. Spanish avocados other than the hass variety will also have to be treated for the Mediterranean fruit fly before they’re shipped or upon arrival.
The USDA first proposed access for Spanish avocados in January 2013, according to the USDA. After a comment period that ended in mid-June, the USDA said is received 20 comments on the proposal from a group that included U.S. avocado growers, private citizens, and the European Union.
According to the Federal Register, the USDA calculated that at least a portion of projected Spanish avocado imports will displace imports from other foreign sources, rather than U.S. fruit when fresh avocado supplies are low and demand is high. Projected volume of avocado imports from Spain should account for less than half of 1% of U.S. avocado production, according to the USDA.
Spanish avocado producers expect to export about 260 metric tons of fresh avocados to the U.S. annually, according to the USDA. Spain exported about 70,000 metric tons of fresh avocados to all markets in 2011, with shipments to France accounting for about 43% of the volume.
In 2011, the U.S. imported more than 415,000 metric tons of fresh avocados, with Mexico accounting for 77% of total import volume.
The U.S. per-capita consumption of avocados has been increasing, according to federal estimates. Since 2000, the USDA reported that per capita consumption in the U.S. has grown 6.4% per year.