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APTOS, CA -- Unpredictable and inclement weather has led the Chilean Avocado Importers Association to forecast a smaller avocado crop for the 2010-11 season than originally projected. New estimates indicate 100 million to 120 million pounds of Chilean Hass avocados to be shipped to the United States this season.

Due to the alternating fruit bearing of the avocado trees, the new projections are on par with those of the 2008-09 season. Comparatively to that season, the acreage is approximately the same and also experienced the effects of a freeze that year.

"Unfortunately, we can never anticipate Mother Nature and have had a lack of rain and a cold late spring," CAIA Chairman Jorge Covarrubias said in an Oct. 21 press release. "We wish we had more fruit."

Of the 100 million to 120 million pounds of Chilean Hass avocados, 25 million pounds of product have arrived for consumption in the United States or are on the water en route from Chile. Of the overall Chilean avocado volume, Europe historically accounts for 23-25 percent -- which will also experience a smaller volume this season as a result of the crop reduction.

Thirty percent of the original volume prediction was lost due to the weather impact, with the freeze contributing an additional 10 percent to the Chilean avocado crop reduction, according to the release.

Established in 2002, the Chilean Avocado Importers Association is composed of Chilean avocado importers, exporters and producers. The association's main objective is to conduct market development activities and promotions to increase the consumption of Chilean Hass avocados in the United States during the Chilean season, August through March. Chilean Hass avocados are available throughout the fall and winter, when California avocados are out of season.