Manuel Jose Alcaino, president of Santiago, Chile-based Decofrut SA, noted that the European Union was becoming a bigger player in Chile’s avocado deal.
“Last season, Europe increased its market share to an unknown-before 27%, and considering the increased yield, the volumes to Europe were more than tripled,” he said.
Alcaino also said Europe’s precarious economic situation could be a key factor in Chile’s participation this year.
“This season, perspectives in Europe look shadier with the weak euro and reduced demand; therefore, the U.S. seems to regain the market share it used to have,” he said. “I would like to see Argentina to maintain or increase its volume due to intensive promotion campaigns there, thus increase its market participation.”
If Chile scales back its shipments in the upcoming deal, other production regions, perhaps a little closer to home, will compensate, said Rob Wedin, vice president of sales and marketing for Calavo Growers Inc., Santa Paula, Calif.
“You never know how that works out,” he said. “There’s other sources of product for Europe. And you never know what’s going to happen with the exchange rates. Growers will emphasize the part of the program where they’re going to make the most money, and exchange rates have a lot to do with that.”
Ample production in California and Mexico this year likely will provide some incentive for Chile to send some early shipments to Europe, but it’s difficult to predict, Wedin noted.
“Where you may see that come into play is late summer or fall of 2011,” he said. “I think it’s going to be good sailing in 2010, because the volume available to the U.S. is going to be down starting in October 2010 to August 2011.”