A Mexican avocado farmworker harvests fruit

Avocados from Mexico

as significant producers in the coming seasons, as well as the western, coastal state of Nayarit. “I think the entry of these other states will be very good for Mexico and will make us even more competitive,” she says. The pricing challenge One of the key concerns for Mexico’s avocado growers during the second half of the 2021-22 season was the im- pact on consumer demand from high retail prices, which came amid a smaller crop. “These were prices that have never been seen in the history of the avocado,” says Vega Pérez. “They reached MX$110-$115 pesos (US$5.52-$5.77) per kilo, which put the brakes on consumption in the market. People who previ- ously would buy six avocados were thinking twice about buying one or two.” The effect, he says, was that avocados became a luxury product, even within the domestic Mexi- can market. According to Vega, the fall in volumes in the past season — which finished up with 2.5 million tons, 8% lower than the previous record campaign — is primarily due to the natural production cycle of avocado trees, with a high pro- duction year being followed by lower volumes, although he says a shortage of water also had a negative impact. Another major challenge that emerged for Mexican avocado exporters during the 2021-22 deal was what Coli-

man’s Flores describes as “aggressive” competition from Peru in the U.S. market. “Faced with this, as a sector we had to take a small step back and reflect,” he says. Vega says that Peru offered lower prices than Mexico, which he says resulted in a lot of grocery chains switching to the Andean country. This is “something we had never seen before in previous seasons,” he adds. Peru had a record avocado season in 2021 and is expecting further growth during the coming years as young orchards come online. “If clients don’t have a supplier they can trust, they will look at other options,” says Vega. “We have the advantage that Mexican avocados are recognized for their quality and food safety. But the problems during the summer were a wake-up call for the whole industry to take care of our main market, the United States.” Of course, Vega acknowledges one of the main compet- itive advantages Mexican exporters hold over Peru is that they are able to reach the U.S. border in less than 24 hours rather than having to rely on maritime shipments. “The challenge we now face is having the required volumes and being able to recover the trust that was lost in Mexican avocados during last season,” he adds. “But I think we will be able to because with the volumes we are harvesting we can recover our market share.” According to Celso Castillo Macías, the sales manager at a leading Uruapan-based packer, demand for avoca-

72 Vision Magazine

December 2022

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