Global avocado market: Colombia reaping the fruits of success

09 September 2019 2 min. read

Growing demand for Colombian avocados thanks to the country’s almost year-round availability of avocados and relatively good product quality is seeing Colombia grow its market share in the global avocado market, according to a new analysis.

Last year, Colombia was the globe’s tenth largest exporter of avocados, holding a market share 1.1%, which equates to an export value of around $63 million. However, the market for avocado exports is dominated by three countries – Mexico, the Netherlands and Peru – who combined account for two thirds of all exports of the fruit. 

Mexico is the globe’s runaway leader in avocado exports, accounting for 43% of the total. Other countries that currently hold a large slice of the avocado market than Colombia are Spain, Chile, the US, Kenya, South Africa and New Zealand. Colombia, which exports around 95% of its domestic avocado produce to Europe, is a larger economic force than among others France, Israel and Germany.

Global avocado market exports

Data from iQonsulting, a research and consulting firm based in Santiago de Chile, shows that by the turn of the year, it is likely that Colombia will have jumped one or even two places in the top ten. In the first halg of the year, shipments of Colombian avocados amounted to 27,000 tons, which is 50% compared to the same period of the year previous.

One major driver for the growing volume is a successful export diversification strategy. So far in 2019, the share of exports heading to Europe amounts to ‘only’ 92% of the total volume, meaning that Colombian avocados are to a much larger extent being shipped to other destinations. According to Andrés Valencia, Colombia’s minister for Agriculture and Development, the US, Japan and China are actively being targeted.

Saudi Arabia is practically a completely new market for Colombian avocados. This year, the Middle East country has in the first six months imported 408 tons of avocados, almost ten times the quantity imported in the full year of 2018.

Colombia’s targeted avocado approach has been a huge success story in the past five years. In 2014, the country exported a mere 2,000 tons, while when 2019 will come to a close, the level is forecasted to reach over 50,00 tons. 

Globally, the outlook for the avocados remains positive on the long term. According to market research firm TMR, the worldwide avocado market will grow at a healthy 5.9% every year up to 2026, lifting the industry’s value from $13.6 billion last year to $21.6 billion by 2026.