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Large 1992/93 California avocado crop lowers prices.

According to the California Avocado Commission, the State's 1992/93 avocado production (November through October) is expected to be 265,000 short tons, about 70 percent larger than last year, the State's second consecutive gain following the December 1990 freeze. If realized, the 1992/93 crop would be just 5 percent less than the 1986/87 record. Ample supplies pushed domestic and export shipments well ahead of last year. Between November 1, 1992, and February 20, 1993, California avocado shipments were 50,000 short tons, up almost 60 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Heavy rains slowed harvest in early and mid-January in Southern California. But even with periodic shortages, Hass avocado prices ranged from $13-17 per carton (size 48) in January and February, down 50 percent from the same time last year. The California Avocado Commission's forecast of the season-average grower price for 1992/93 (weighted for all varieties and sizes) was $600 per ton, down almost 50 percent from 1991/92.

From 1985/86 to 1989/90, bearing acreage of avocado trees in California hovered around 75,000 acres, but nonbearing acreage dropped steadily as commercial and urban needs increased competition for land. Estimated bearing acreage declined from 74,200 acres in 1990/91 to 73,300 in 1991/92. Further pressure on California's avocado acreage can be expected. However, the high-yield groves will remain, and future crop volume may not necessarily decline. More than 90 percent of California's avocado production is located in Southern California counties with growing urban populations, including San Diego, Ventura, Riverside, and Santa Barbara.

Effects of Hurricane Andrew Linger in Florida

The forecast of Florida avocados for certified shipment in 1992/93 (beginning April 1) was reduced by almost two-thirds following the destruction of all remaining fruit on trees in Dade County by Hurricane Andrew on August 24, 1992. The crop was the smallest in more than 20 years. The limited amounts of avocados shipped since the storm brought prices more than twice year-earlier levels. Because of the small number of surviving trees, another small crop is expected in 1993/94. Many trees that were damaged by the storm have been reset, but long-term survival rates are unclear. Lack of tree stock has constrained replanting efforts.

Exports and Consumption Up in 1991/92

More ample California avocado supplies and lower prices boosted exports and domestic consumption in 1991/92. The pattern is expected to continue in 1992/93, even with Florida's production shortfalls. Canada, Japan, and the European Community remain the top three markets for U.S. avocados. Per capita consumption of avocados was 1.43 pounds in 1991, up from 1.23 in 1990, but 15 percent below the 10-year average.
1980/81 30.8 238.0 0.8 269.6
1981/82 25.8 157.0 0.6 183.4
1982/83 34.7 202.0 0.8 237.5
1983/84 27.0 247.0 0.6 274.6
1984/85 29.5 200.0 0.6 230.0
1985/86 28.5 160.0 0.6 189.1
1986/87 24.7 278.0 0.7 303.4
1987/88 29.0 180.0 0.5 209.5
1988/89 27.0 165.0 0.6 192.6
1989/90 33.5 105.0 0.6 139.1
1990/91 19.6 136.0 0.5 156.1
1991/92 28.3 156.0 0.4 184.7

1/Crop year begin: Florida-California, November 1; Hawaii, June

Source: National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA and
Hawaii Agricultural Statistics Service.
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Publication:Frozen Food Digest
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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