Sales of bagged avos for informal trade on the up

"Fuerte prices ought to be 20% higher, given the available volumes"

The many public holidays have reduced the amount of avocados on the municipal markets while recent cool and rainy weather has dampened avocado (and general fruit) sales.

There are around 10,000 cartons on the Johannesburg market at the moment coming down from 40,000 cartons two weeks ago, according to an avocado trader at the Johannesburg municipal market.

"With the volumes we have on the market, Fuerte prices ought to be 20% higher but there's little demand." April is traditionally a difficult month for household finances, he remarks.

The avocado price has been on a slight upward trend, reports fresh produce market analyst AMT Trends, trading at R15,53 (0.9 euro) per kg for class 1 avocados on the municipal market.

There is little supply of Pinkerton avocados at the moment.

He continues: "Usually by now, Hass is in full swing but we haven't yet seen those volumes. It feels like there's more Fuerte than usual coming from the Lowveld, perhaps as a result of a decrease in exports, but by next week Hass volumes should be picking up from the Lowveld, I expect."

Hail damage clearly visible
On the avocados from Nelspruit and Hazyview, he says, quality is down from last year. 

"We're getting a lot of class 2 fruit as a result of the hail, about 30% of the fruit we're getting at the moment have hail damage, but the internal quality is not affected. We had been expecting it, we knew the volumes wouldn't be so fantastic this year. There's also been a lot of rain this summer."

Buoyant market for class 2 bagged avos
The one area of improvement, he points out, has been the sales of bagged avocados, for instance Hass from the early Levubu area, for which there is definitely increased demand from informal buyers and a greater willingness to pay higher prices.

Right: 16/17kg bags of grade 2 avos - a bit of a success story

More growers have this season been sending avos in bags, perhaps in response to the rise in packaging costs (along with everything else) and because of a larger percentage of class 2 fruit.

The price of bagged avos is roughly 20% up from last year as a result of greater volumes of bagged avos meeting the greater interest from buyers for the street trade.

Growers are much concerned by the considerable rise in transport costs, he observes.

"Normally growers would be packing 220 boxes on a pallet, this year everyone's packing 264 boxes on a pallet, packing higher to optimize cargo space."

Hass market is looking up in Europe
In Europe, greenskin avos are under a bit of pressure but prices are remaining stable.

The Hass market is looking up after the late volumes from Israel have started to decline but larger volumes of fruit from Peru are now starting to arrive.

The South African avocado industry is hoping that they'll be able to start exports to Japan still this season, but final access has not yet been received.



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