Bianca Mlilo Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE fresh fruit producers should take advantage of the 45 percent avocado demand increase in the European Union (EU) market to increase their production and export earnings. The country’s trade agency, ZimTrade, noted in its latest newsletter that avocado demand value grew from $760 million in 2011 to $1.1 billion in 2014.
The EU market accounts for a third of global imports of avocados, a market Zimbabwe is yet to fully explore.
Currently, Peru accounts for 30 percent of Europe’s annual avocado imports.
According to ZimTrade, local avocado exports increased by 400 percent from $177,000 in 2012 to $710,000 in 2014 driven mainly by large scale avocado producers from plantations in Manicaland.
The trade agency urged small-scale avocado producers to consolidate their orders if they are to penetrate markets in Europe.
It said avocado producers have to meet the minimum EU procedural requirements that protect consumers.
These requirements are classified according to product safety, technical standardisation, packaging and labelling.
ZimTrade also urged local companies to utilise the Zimbabwe-European Union Business Information Centre (Zim-EBIC) to obtain valuable information on the EU market.
Zimbabwe stands at number 48 in the world ranking of avocado exporters.
In 2013, the country produced 1,300 tonnes of avocado, while Mexico, the world’s number one avocado producer, produced 1,467, 837t in the same year.