More Peruvian avocados headed to U.S - The Packer

More Peruvian avocados headed to U.S

09/09/2011 10:57:00 AM
Amelia Freidline

The ruling will enable Peruvian exporters to ship higher-quality fruit to the U.S. without the expense of the cold treatment process, which has been a requirement since the fruit was cleared for import to the U.S. in January 2010, growers said. Trapping requirements for the pest in Peru also were eliminated.

The additional supplies should be welcomed this season, since California’s avocado crop, estimated by the California Avocado Commission at 253 million pounds, was tighter than usual and should be nearly sold out by mid-September.

Peruvian fruit could bolster supplies around the end of the California season in late summer and the start of shipments from Chile and Mexico.

Peru’s volume will be about a quarter of Chile’s, estimated Rob Wedin, vice president of sales and marketing for Calavo Growers Inc., Santa Paula, Calif.

As supplies increase in coming years, the two exporting countries will have to learn to coexist as Peru grabs some of Chile’s early market, he said.

“We think it’s going to work out pretty nicely,” he added.

Peru’s presence may prompt Chilean exporters to start a little later in the season, said Brandon Gritters, avocado salesman for Interfresh Inc., Fullerton, Calif.

Peruvian supplies also could affect California growers when they have a large crop and are shipping fruit well into September or October.

Gritters said it’s hard to say yet what the overall effect will be.

“The Peruvian stuff is all new, so we’ll see what kind of reception it gets when it gets here,” he said.

Indeed, the Peruvian product has “confused the market” because it’s something new, said Jim Donovan, vice president of business development for Mission Produce Inc., Oxnard, Calif., and chairman of the Hass Avocado Board.

Peru’s first arrivals should be exceptional because that country’s agriculture department has been tough on exporters in order to ensure a high-quality debut, he said.

“They would like to show the very best,” Donovan said. “Overall, the quality I’m sure will be excellent.”

Peruvian avocados definitely will have an effect on the U.S. deal because they’ll add another source to the marketplace, said Phil Henry, president of Henry Avocado Corp., Escondido, Calif.

“I think it is causing Chilean growers and shippers to delay their shipments somewhat,” he said.

Peru shipped only a couple of containers last year to companies that wanted to experiment and see how the fruit handled, Henry said.

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