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Mexico anticipates record Hass exports to United States for 2012-13

Mexico, which is the largest supplier of Hass avocados to the U.S. market and which is anticipating record volumes for the 2012-13 crop, expects to export a record volume of avocados to the U.S. market during the 2012-13 season.

According to information furnished to The Produce News by APEAM, the avocado growers and packers association in the state of Michoacán, Mexico, projected exports of Hass to the United States from July 2012 through June 2013 will total more than 918 million pounds, up from around 782 million pounds during the prior year.

The biggest volumes will come during the October-through-December period (around 291 million pounds) and the January-through-March period (around 269 million pounds).

Mexican volume for the July-through-September period this year was more than double the prior year at around 192 million pounds, due in part to a larger than usual Flora Loca crop which comes in August and September from an off-season bloom just prior to the start of the main new-crop harvest in October.

The Flora Loca "was a significantly larger crop than it has been for several years, and that was apparent when we hit August. We started to see real large volumes of Loca coming to the United States," said Dana Thomas, president of Index Fresh Inc. in Bloomington, CA, Oct. 1.

Doug Meyer, vice president of sales and marketing at West Pak Avocado Inc. in Temecula, CA, concurred. There were "unusually heavy volumes in the Flora Loca crop," he said Oct. 1. Quality has been "very good," so the company has been bringing in "a tremendous amount" of new-crop Mexican fruit into the market since early August.

The transition to the main crop was expected to start by mid-October, he said.

Because of the larger volumes of Hass avocados in the market not just from Mexico but in the aggregate from all sources, "retail has enjoyed lower prices for the last year" than during the previous year when supplies were shorter, said Ross Wileman, vice president of sales and marketing at Mission Produce Inc. in Oxnard, CA, Sept. 28. With the strong volumes coming in from Mexico over the next several months, "that should remain stable, so it will give [retailers] an opportunity to really promote avocados."

"The Mexicans did a wise thing on their Flora Loca" this year, said Bob Lucy, president of Del Rey Avocado Co. Inc. in Fallbrook, CA, Sept. 28. "They waited until they made sure that they had really good maturity. They were very disciplined to make sure that they didn't send fruit in that would have a problem in the marketplace. It was a good decision."

Mexico will be cranking up its volume through October and stay strong "all the way through until June, I imagine. It is a very big crop, from what we are hearing, " Mr. Lucy said. "I think everybody is prepared to move a lot of avocados in the country this year."

Chilean volume this fall and winter "will be down," he said. "That leaves a big vacuum for Mexico to have major market share from October 1st to probably April 1st" when California will ramp up harvest of what appears to be a large crop.

"We have a pretty motivated market right now," said Rob Wedin, vice president of fresh sales for Calavo Growers Inc. in Santa Paula, CA, Oct. 2. Demand is strong, and because of the heavy volume, "there is more promotion, so there are a lot of good things going on in the market. We are going to match that up with a very good crop out of Mexico."

He expected the heaviest volumes from Mexico to come in during February and March. "That is positive, because it will segue into the [2013] California crop."