“The sector must discuss the correct handling of Lamb Hass”

In recent years, the avocado sector in the Valencian Community has experienced considerable growth, and although this year the trend is not as expansive, this does not mean it will stop growing
Vicnete Bayona

Proof of this is a company from Castellón, Tropical Bayper, which brings together one of the most northerly avocado productions in Spain and which recently has incorporated Yellow Bone, with a 50% participation, a spin-off of the important business group, Simetría.

Vicente Bayona, Manager of Tropical Bayper, defines this growth of Valencian avocados as “latent” and he maintains a positive viewpoint regarding the future of Tropical Bayper. Bayona even affirms that the marketers and farmers in Malaga are also now putting their sights on Valencia, “because it is the only place where growth is possible without the risk of not having any water.”

However, the Manager is keeping his feet on the ground and he is aware of the economic uncertainty we are experiencing. “I believe that in 2023 we are going to see a very conservative growth, we might reach figures that are just below the rates for 2020/21. Farmers are undercapitalised and this means that they are carrying out cautious policies, not investing more in the fields and not extending plantations.”

Additionally, Bayona does not want to forget some essential aspects of the avocado trade: quality, technique and development. Accordingly, he affirms that “we have to try to ensure the avocados are not harvested before they are ripe, and emphasis must be made on their peculiar handling so that clients know about this and take precautions.”

One of Tropical Bayper’s varieties is Lamb Hass, which has been “set aside from the distribution’s requirements until recently, as the Hass was usually considered to be the priority variety, but now, year after year, a relevant growth may be observed.” Therefore, Bayona considers that “all the agents on the chain must be ready for this variety to make strong inroads on the large platforms and supermarkets.”

Ignorance about Lamb Hass’ ripening process

However, the Lamb Hass variety has some characteristics and handling that are totally different from the Hass variety: “it must be harvested with the optimum rate of dry material; that is to say, 24%, given that it tends to take on a dark colour. It must be carefully selected, because when marketing the fruit, they must be separated into colours: green, mixed, brown and a darker shade.”

With Lamb Hass, the brown colour may mean that it is at its perfect point of ripeness or that it can be eaten, which means that it is a fruit that “deceives” and confuses. The executive insists that there is great ignorance by ripeners about the product and this aspect is damaging the sector: “I often hear that our variety does not ripen well, but this is because they have muddled the green, mixed and the darker-coloured avocados.”

Likewise, the Manager of Tropical Bayper also underscores a relevant topic: the limits of avocado fats, and asks the European authorities to consider establishing this limit at 24 or 25%, as with “imports many avocados are arriving with under 20% fat content and this causes difficulties for the markets as their quality is very bad, and there are huge amounts.”

This situation differs from that in other countries. In the United States, a 27% fat content is demanded of imports from Peru, while in Europe no barrier determining avocado fat is required or imposed on imported avocados.

Bayona adds that the lack of plant protection products and growth regulators has also been a differentiating factor: “Europe has to pull up its socks regarding these crucial aspects for the continued existence of our own agriculture, and it must demand the same conditions that are demanded of us.”

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