A July APHIS ruling has opened the way for a new player in the U.S. avocado market.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service on July 22 issued a final rule that amends regulations for hass avocado movement, altering foreign quarantine regulations for areas affected by the Mediterranean fruit fly, such as eliminating cold treatment and trapping requirements for Peruvian hass avocados.
The rule’s summary in the Federal Register states that the changes were spurred by research “demonstrating the limited host status of Hass avocados to Mediterranean fruit fly and South American fruit fly.” The rule also removed trapping requirements for Mediterranean fruit fly in Michoacán, Mexico.
It makes domestic and foreign quarantine regulations consistent and eases restrictions for Mexican and Peruvian avocado shippers, the summary said.
The summary and complete rule are available at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/index.html.
“The cold sterilization condition, which had been part of the original rule passed over a year and a half ago that first allowed Peruvian avocados U.S. entry, had made it virtually impossible for Peruvian producers to confidently ship their product to the U.S.A.,” said Mark Greenberg, senior vice president, procurement, and chief operating officer, Fisher Capespan Inc., St. Laurent, Quebec.
Now, with only inspections and phytosanitary certifications required, Peruvian avocado producers can ship into the U.S. during an important marketing window, from May to September, Greenberg said.
Peru’s production will help fill summer demand, when consumption is up, said Jose Luis Obregon, managing director, Hass Avocado Board, Irvine, Calif.
However, the estimated 40-50 million pounds Peru could send to the U.S. in its first full season next year is only about 3% of the entire market volume, Obregon said.
“It’s another player in the market, but will it have a tremendous effect? I don’t think so,” Obregon said.
The 40- to 50-million-pound estimate is based on Peru’s current production, Obregon said.
Peru has been exporting avocados to Europe for years, and there’s no reason to expect that it’ll stop doing so. The rule change gives it the option of shipping to the U.S., but it will ship elsewhere if the market is not strong here, Obregon said.
James Milne, category director, citrus and avocados, The Oppenheimer Group, Vancouver, British Columbia, expects Peruvian imports to have very little effect on the market this year because regulatory authorities are being strict with the first shipments, he said.
Oppenheimer already markets Peruvian avocados to Canadian buyers, said Karin Gardner, marketing communications manager.
Oppenheimer expects to receive its first shipments of Peruvian avocados for the U.S. market in about mid-August.
Phil Henry, president, Henry Avocado Corp., Escondido, Calif., expects quality to be excellent on Peruvian fruit, he said. He said imports were expected to arrive in the U.S. in mid-August and to continue until late September.
It’s difficult to predict how the market will be affected, he added.
Brandon Gritters, avocado salesman for distributor Interfresh Inc., Fullerton, Calif., expects Peruvian imports to be a small volume compared to the rest of the market, but said that in future seasons it would put some pressure on Chilean importers because the seasons overlap.