Peru’s avocado season — and future of growers there — wasn’t derailed by El Niño, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The Aug. 3 Foreign Agricultural Service report, “Peru’s Avocado Production and Exports on the Rise,” said that March flooding caused harvest delays but no long-term setbacks for Peru’s growers.
“The El Niño season during March 2017 brought less destruction to Peru’s avocado crop than previously forecasted,” according to the report.
In fact, Peru’s avocado production in 2017 is forecast to increase by 20% from 2016 because of new acreage coming into production. Before El Niño, Peru’s avocado output was forecast to increase 30% in 2017.
Avocado acreage in Peru is 57,500 acres, with the regions of La Libertad and Lima accounting for more than 40% of total production, according to the report. Most avocado production in Peru is found along the desert coast and larger-scale producers use water from the Andes for irrigation.
Though harvest is year-round, peak output of Peru’s avocado occurs from April through June, when about half of the annual volume of fruit is picked and marketed.
Europe takes about 67% of Peru’s total avocado exports, with the U.S. at 20%. But Asian markets are growing fast, according to the USDA.
“With growing demand in China, Hong Kong, and Japan, Peru’s avocado export markets are forecast to continue expanding,” according to the report.
This year, Peru’s exporters were expected to take advantage of lower than normal Mexican and Californian production levels by diverting more to the U.S. Statistics backed that up that hunch.
USDA trade numbers show that the value of U.S. imports of Peruvian avocados in June totaled $63 million, more than three times the value of 2016 June imports of $18.9 million.