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Westfalia expects 10 percent increase of Peruvian avocados

By
Kyle Eberth, Northwest editor

Westfalia Fruit anticipates a robust season for its Peruvian avocados. Its confidence is bolstered by the company’s expansion in country and the opening of its new state-of-the-art pack house, located just south of Lima.

“The benefit of creating our own facility is that we can ensure it meets the requirements of our business now and in the future,” said Omar Diaz, general manager for Westfalia Fruit Peru.

woman packing avocados in a box“We are very excited about our program expansion in Peru and expect to increase exports by over 10 percent this year to the U.S,” said Diaz.

“We are implementing the most stringent global accreditations and standards to continue to deliver consistent high-quality fruit our customers deserve and have come to rely on from Westfalia Fruit,” said Diaz.

Its operation in Peru started up in February and will run through the summer months, closing out in September. Exports began arriving in the U.S. at the end of April, giving the crop time to mature and meet Westfalia’s specific quality and dry matter standards.

Westfalia Peru’s primary commodity is the industry standard Hass, which is complemented by other green-skin varieties like Fuerte, Ettinger and Zutano. Diaz said, “We are developing projects to plant different varieties such as Carmen, GEM, Lamb Hass to expand our export window.”

While Hass avocados thrive in the Peruvian climate –– achieving high yields per hectare –– Westfalia’s objective to expand the company’s export season has led them to conduct trials with early production varieties and late production varieties. “All to ensure we are producing varieties that yield quality fruit in targeted production timeframes,” said Diaz.

As for the avocado season as a whole, Diaz noted the lower volumes being imported into the U.S. during the main Mexican season: “There has been a reduced amount of fruit available in the market; that has resulted in elevated prices to consumers.”

Hans Eben, CEO of Westfalia Fruit South America, anticipates those prices should be aided as more volume hits shelves. “California avocados added some volume into the market, and the Peruvian volume, which has been flowing into the U.S. for the past four weeks now, will significantly help the availability of fruit, which in turn should result in more competitive prices for the Peruvian export season,” said Eben. Also of note is the incoming product from Jalisco throughout the summer.

Demand for avocados in the U.S. is also growing at a healthy rate, and Westfalia anticipates that prices will reflect the ongoing market dynamics.

Still looming large over the fresh produce market are shortages within the global supply chain. Diaz was forthright about the increased costs of shipping and lower availability of refrigerated equipment –– essential to the transportation of premium avocados. He said, “As part of the global Westfalia Group, we are working with our international colleagues and logistic partners to work through these challenges to ensure we continue delivering customers our high quality avocado programs.” Diaz conveyed confidence in Westfalia’s ability to meet the evolving challenges of their multinational supply and demand.

While excitement and conversation centered on Westfalia’s Peruvian commodities, Diaz lauded the company’s commitment to sustainable practices and environmental stewardship. He said, “We are adopting the U.N.’s sustainability goals and celebrated achieving carbon neutral status in our 2020 season.” Additionally, “Westfalia continues to pioneer new techniques, including the use of low-volume irrigation systems that will allow us to reduce the amount of water we use in the orchards whilst maintaining the flavor and quality of our avocados.”

Westfalia Fruit’s Peruvian avocados are in season, up in volume and available all summer long.

Kyle Eberth

Kyle Eberth

About Kyle Eberth  |  email

Kyle Eberth is new to the produce industry, but has grown up around it, in proclaimed "Apple Capitol of the World," Wenatchee, WA. For the past 14-years he has worked in the non-profit sector with an emphasis on brand storytelling, community engagement, and donor relationships.

Kyle graduated from Whitworth University (Spokane, WA) in 2007. He and wife Kelsey were married shortly thereafter, when they moved to Wenatchee to launch their careers.  Kyle is "Dad" to Brooklyn and Hudson, together the Eberths enjoy skiing, biking, their family and friends, and playing together in the beautiful place they get to live.

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