ZIMBABWE should take advantage of its favourable climatic conditions to grow organic avocados and increase exports of the fruit to the European Union (EU), the country’s export promotion body, ZimTrade, has said.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
ZimTrade also urged Zimbabwean avocado growers to “take advantage of the duty-free market access under the interim Economic Partnership Agreement ratified under the eastern and southern African countries and the EU.”
The global import of avocados almost doubled in the period 2014 to 2018 from US$3,4 billion to US$6,1 billion.
Mexico is the major supplier of avocados and the most lucrative opportunities are in large markets such as France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom, which are often supplied by The Netherlands.
According to Eurostat, in 2018, Zimbabwe exported avocados worth ₧5,7 million to the EU, with 53% of the total exports destined for The Netherlands.
“The European market is expected to grow further in the coming years and will remain competitive since importers prefer larger producers because of supply certainty. Global supply of avocados is highest from February to September, when prices are lower than during the rest of the year,” ZimTrade said.
“In periods of low global supplies, especially in October and November, prices of small volumes of ready-to-eat avocados tend to increase their prices to approximately US$15 per 4kg box”.
The avocado is popular in vegetarian cuisine as a substitute for meats in sandwiches and salads because of its high-fat content.
It is served raw, though some varieties like the Hass can be cooked for a short time without becoming bitter.
Potential health benefits include improving digestion, decreasing risk of depression and protection against cancer.
The Hass avocado, with a pebbled black skin, is currently the main planted variety.