According to the World Avocado Organisation (WAO), avocado consumption in Europe will increase by 12% this year and by 7% in the USA. “They are not only eaten by the millennials,” the chairman of the WAO, Xavier Equihua, affirms, “the generation Z also wants healthy food. We will see a new explosion over the next six to eight years.” It is predicted that the global demand for Hass will grow at an annual rate of almost 5% until 2025.
Faced with this setting, the commercial window and the yield in Spain need to be increased to respond to the growing demand. This is an area that is being developed by the Subtropical and Mediterranean Horticulture Institute, ‘La Mayora’ CSIC-UMA.
Although now it is possible to produce avocados all year round with different varieties (Hass – November to April; Lamb Hass, Reed, Bacon and Fuerte), the Head of the Subtropical Fruit Growing Department, Iñaki Hormaza, recalls that not all the regions are usable, because the fruit suffers with the cold and frequent frosts.
In his opinion, the handling must be changed to increase the yield and to make a greater commitment to other more productive varieties, alternatives to Hass. Compared to the 12,000 kg/ha on average produced with Hass, Reed gives 15,000 kg/ha. But he also affirms that “in blind tastings, other varieties beat Hass.” Why does its hegemony continue? On the one hand, it has the advantage that it changes colour on ripening and, on the other, there is its greater endurance during transport, ideal for marketing.
At the IHSM they already have an avocado variety produced locally with crosses, but that will be commercialised in the long term.
Other developments in progress are a custard apple with fewer seeds. “We have already registered a variety, Alborán, which is highly interesting for winter and spring.” And they are working on improvements to find seedless custard apples. And he advances: “in the sector there is a great deal of interest in Dragon fruit and papayas as protected crops.”