Agriculture knowledge

The Israeli Avocado Industry

Exclusive interview with Reuven Dor, Coordinator for the Avocado section of the Plants Board

This exclusive interview was held with Reuven Dor, Coordinator for the Avocado section at the Fruit department of the Plants Production and Marketing Board

 

Some Facts about the Avocado Industry in Israel

The extent of the Avocado plantations in Israel is 7000 hectares and they are expected to yield more than 115,000 tons of fruit.  The principal growing areas are along the Coastal Plain from Rosh Hanikra in the North down to the Gaza belt district, in addition to Israel’s hinterland areas such as the Jordan Valley and the Upper Galilee (Eastern Valleys). The percentage of the Avocado growing along the coast is 70% while the remaining 30% grows in the Eastern Valleys.  The vast majority of the Avocado plantations are located on kibbutzim (collective settlements) while a smaller proportion are grown by Moshavim (cooperative villages).  

The Local Avocado Market

The Avocado season opens with the Galil variety and is followed by the Ettinger, Hass, Fuerte type while the Reed variety is picked last.  The Avocado in greatest demand globally is the Hass Variety Hass while the green varieties include Ettinger, Pinkerton, Fuerte and Reed.  All the Avocado varieties are consumed in Israel but the Galil and Ettinger varieties now appear for sale in the markets already from August onwards.

 

 

 

    Photo credit: Michael Noy

The Industry’s Development

This industry is developing continuously and the trading results are invariably good and consequently very large areas are being planted with Avocado trees. This export industry also has considerable significance for the local market but during the coming Shmita year, when according to Jewish Law the land must remain fallow (every 7 years), no further plantings will be carried out. This year’s crop is expected to reach 115,000 tons and most of the fruit (70%) is earmarked for export and the remaining 30% will be sold on the local market. The actual shares sold to the different markets will be determined by the prices in Europe and based on additional commercial factors such as foreign currency rates.

 

 Photo credit: Michael Noy

Export Destinations and Competitors

The main export destinations are France, UK, Germany, Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries, but the fruit is also exported to all the European countries and considerable quantities to Russia too. There is however considerable competition from other producing countries such as Peru and Chile.

How Is the Fruit Exported?

The Avocado exports must abide by the existing European standards and this stipulation is a precondition for exports (EURO GAP). All the fruit is packed at packing houses, which meet the European standards.  The leading exporters are Galil Express and Mehadrin Tnuport Exports Ltd.  Galil Export runs a packing house known as Milopri (in the Western Galilee) whereas the packing house operated by Mehadrin Tnuport Export Ltd. is located at the Granot factory.

 

 Photo credit: Michael Noy

The Importance of Israeli Avocado in the Global Market  

Israeli Avocado supplies an important share of the European market as the geographic proximity constitutes an important advantage. The fruit can be transported by sea cargo in refrigerated containers.  The fruit is transported in ships remaining in refrigerated containers for 4-5 days in Europe, whereas it takes between 10 days and two weeks for the competitors’ produce to reach the European market. 

Technologies for Improving the Produce

Research in this field focuses on plant protection, fertility improvement, fertilization, irrigation and the development of new varieties.  The industry is eeking to make improvements in the fruit’s fertility/productivity with the aim of attaining increasing yields using diverse agro-technical means and irrigation, and ripening methods. Furthermore, there is increasing awareness of issues such as plant protection.  The Ministry of Agriculture and the Volcani are cooperating on a project for enhancing Avocado varieties as they search for varieties similar to Hass that are in greater demand globally, in contrast to the green types, for which demand is lower.

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