Both production and exports of avocados are expected to fall this harvest season, due to adverse weather conditions combined with the alternate bearing effect and a severe drought which is affecting the main production area.
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Rachel Bickford, Agricultural Attaché
Luis Hennicke, Agricultural Specialist
Both production and exports of avocados are expected to fall this harvest season, due to adverse
weather conditions combined with the alternate bearing effect and a severe drought which is
affecting the main production area.
Chilean avocado production is expected to fall again during the present 2011/12 production season compared to
last season. Adverse weather conditions, alternate bearing effect in some production areas and a severe drought
affecting a large part of the production region are responsible for the significant fall in production and exports for
this season. For the 2012/13 season a significant number of orchards are entering their productive stage or are at
their incremental stage of production, so the output is forecasted to increase again, despite a fall in total planted
Production in 2010/2011 fell again when compared to the 2009/2010 season because cold and freezing weather
together with alternate bearing (fruit stress) affected total production. Exports and domestic consumption fell
accordingly. For the present 2011/12 season production is expected to fall further as a result of a severe drought
which is affecting the Aconcagua Region particularly the Cabildo valley. Many producers have lost their
orchards completely, industry sources indicated that over 2,000 Ha are being affected. The industry in Chile
follows the production season that goes from July to June.
Most Chilean avocados are produced in arid regions with little rain, except during the winter months,
consequently most orchards are frequently free of pests and spraying is minimal or not necessary. Production
area has expanded during the last few years. Increases in planted land have been almost exclusively devoted to
the Hass variety, which represents over 80 percent of total production and almost 100 percent of total exports
(99.8% in CY2010).
Avocado plantings had been expanding at a slower rate during the last few years when compared to the past, as
prices have leveled off and returns have fallen due to a continuous revaluation of the peso against the dollar.
Increasing costs expenditures which are in pesos and sales are in dollars, have reduced margins considerably.
Additionally, over the last two years, the total planted area has fallen as much as 2,000 Ha and will probably fall
another few hectares during the coming year, as an extensive area in the Aconcagua Region is being affected by
the worst drought ever in a productive valley in Chile. The Industry sources added that together with the
uprooting of old non productive orchards and the orchards affected by the drought, total planted area could
probably be reduced another 1,000 Ha, totaling as much as 3,000 hectares in total.
A little over 98 percent of all Chilean commercial avocado trees are planted in the central area of the country -
from Region IV through Region VI. Almost all the planting expansion has been of the Hass variety in the last
decade, there are over 20 other varieties planted in Chile. Out of the total planted area in Chile around 30,000 has
are planted to the Hass avocado variety which represents almost 100 percent of total exports.
In Chile during the last few years domestic avocado consumption is becoming an interesting alternative for
producers mainly due to increasing production costs and the continuous devaluation of the dollar against the
Chilean peso which reduces economic returns to producers. Domestic prices obtained by producers often are
similar or higher than prices obtained for exports. As a result a large number of producers are favoring the less
risky domestic market.
Table ? Chile: Avocado Planted Area, Production and Exports
Years Planted Area (Ha) Production (MT) Exports (MT)
1973 4,490 14,500 -
1980 6,180 25,000 12
1985 7,605 28,900 1,200
1990 8,315 38,800 11,557
1995 11,560 48,000 12,000
1999 19,800 80,550 34,788
2000 21,202 95,000 52,049
2001 21,800 98,000 52,492
2002 22,900 129,000 78,071
2003 23,300 148,000 97,646
2004 24,500 170,000 113,508
2005 24,900 177,000 136,412
2006 26,731 185,000 110,893
2007 35,350 215,000 146,397
2008 40,098 147,100 84,998
2009 40,598 261,600 166,184
2010 40,650 196,000 107,922
2011 39,300 183,000 110,000 1/
2012 37,650 200,000 120,000 2/
Note: 1/ Estimate
Source: Ministry of Agriculture, Central Bank
The largest export market for Chilean avocados is still the United States, followed by the European Community.
The US market received 60 percent of Chile?s total avocado exports in 2010, down from over 70 percent the
previous years. Exports to the EU have increased during the last few years as a result of a concentrated industry
effort to diversify their export markets.
As a result of the US-Chile FTA, Chile has a duty free quota, which started with 49,000 M.T. in CY2004. This
quota increases 5 percent yearly over the next 12 years, after which avocados will enter the US duty free
(CY2016). Chilean avocado exports are highly dependent on the U.S. market. The California Avocado
Commission?s promotional campaign which will continue this year is financed trough the Check Off program.
The Chilean Avocado Importers Association (CAIA) is in charge of the market promotion in the US with a
budget of US$4.0 million. The promotional campaign includes radio and television programs and ads on buses.
Soccer in the US has reportedly become the best promotional scenario for CAIA?s activities reaching an
estimated 8.7 million consumers. Additionally, the promotional campaign in Europe covers Spain, Denmark
Sweden, Germany and the U.K with a budget of about US$600 thousand.
The Chilean Government has no subsidy or special tax incentives for avocado production or exports.
Although avocados from California and Mexico can enter the Chilean market, this country?s rather large,
year-around avocado production tend to discourage commercial imports for all but a few months during the
marketing year. Every year there are some imports, which come mainly from Peru and Argentina. Almost 2,000
MT were imported in CY2011.
Production, Supply and Demand Data Statistics:
Export Trade Matrix
Commodity Avocados, Fresh
Exports for: 2009 2010
Time Period Jan-Dec Units: M.T.
Units: Volume Value Volume Value
U.S. 116,997 160,336 U.S. 65,024 103,234
Netherlands 19,729 30,474 Netherlands 19,311 33,626
Spain 9,893 14,778 Argentina 8,425 10,294
U.K. 7,023 9,239 U.K. 5,251 9,285
France 5,050 7,641 Spain 4,611 8,346
Argentina 3,329 3,340 France 2,824 4,487
Sweden 1,724 2,416 Sweden 1,137 1,877
Japan 1,664 2,361 Japan 365 682
Switzerland 190 404 Hong-Kong 301 570
Denmark 151 214 Belgium 195 357
Hong-Kong 82 119 Switzerland 188 396
Total for Others 48,835 42,608
Others not Listed 353 291
Grand Total 166,184 231,843 107,922 173,604
Time Period Jan-Oct
Exports for: 2010 2011
U.S. 45,793 49,212 U.S. 55,292 92,983
Netherlands 11,779 15,949 Netherlands 8,757 14,136
Argentina 6,757 7,818 Argentina 3,549 6,315
Spain 3,899 5,766 U.K. 2,609 5,264
U.K. 3,814 6,115 Spain 1,949 3,287
France 2,001 2,911 Japan 642 1,117
Sweden 713 1,067 France 519 991
Japan 302 495 Belgium 229 456
Hong-Kong 182 350 Hong-Kong 179 388
Belgium 108 156 Sweden 102 204
Switzerland 105 135 Uruguay 93 220
Total for Others 29,660 18,628
Others not Listed 187 70
Grand Total 75,640 90,167 73,989 125,476
Note: Volume in M.T. and Value in Thous.US$ F.O.B.