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Chile expects to double China-bound avocado exports

The Chilean Hass avocado industry is looking to build on last season’s exports of around 90,000 metric tons (MT), particularly in China where volumes are still small but are growing very quickly.

Chilean Hass Avocado Committee managing director Juan Enrique Lazo told the industry only shipped one container when the market was opened for the 2014 season, but shipments have increased significantly since then.

“Last year we reached 5,300 [metric] tons, and this season we expect to at least double that,” Lazo said.

He said the sector would be undertaking much larger promotion campaigns in China to keep up with the extra volume.

“We will hit points of sales, we’ll do cooking activities, and we’ll have a presence on social media,” Lazo said, adding the promotions would take place during the Northern Hemisphere fall through to November.

He said the first harvests were expected in the first week of August, and it was possible that would also coincide with the first shipments to China.

From a production perspective, Lazo said while Chile had been experiencing a cold winter, there had not yet been reports of frost damages from orchards.

“We haven’t had any serious frosts, but the cold always has an effect, for example in delays for starting harvests – sizing takes a bit more time, and the metabolism is slowed during these months,” he said.

Last season Chile produced 180,000 metric tons (MT), and Lazo expected this figure to rise to 200,000MT in 2016-17, provided no unexpected weather events occur.