The Hass avocado harvest will begin soon in Andalusia and the Valencian Community, but their situations are very different. Avocado producers in Malaga, which concentrates 40.1% of the total avocado area in Spain, are concerned about the drought, which has forced the approval of restrictions that have led the field to a very delicate situation. The dam of La Viñuela, the reservoir that irrigates the Axarquía, is the most affected by the drought and it's only at 7.6% of its capacity, which means it can't be used for irrigation. "If it doesn't rain, we could lose a very important part of the production," stated Benjamin Faulí, head of tropical fruits at ASAJA Malaga.
Meanwhile, the Valencian Community -the region with the second largest area devoted to avocado production in Spain with 2,310 hectares- hasn't had any water issues, stated Celestino Recatalá, the president of ASOPROA (association of avocado producers of Valencia).
It's worth noting that, from 2011 to 2020, the area devoted to avocado cultivation increased by 50.1% in Spain as its consumption grew by more than 1,000% to reach an average of 1.5 kg per person per year. The expansion of the crop, however, is geographically limited by the climate because it is a tropical fruit.
Spain, in fact, only covers 10% of the European demand for avocado and more and more people want to produce avocado. "Our competition has doubled in the last five years," Recatalá added. "The constant improvement and professionalization of the entire network and the industry in general is essential in order to cover the largest possible audience."
Avocado production in the Valencian Community has increased by 250 hectares per year in the last two years. "All new avocado areas are alternatives to citrus, which is irrigated and has the same water needs: 5,500 cubic meters of water per hectare per year," Recatalá said.
Is there a bubble in the avocado sector? Many might wonder after seeing this figure. Faulí, from Malaga, replies: "There aren't too many trees, it just doesn't rain."