The U.S. saw significant increases in Hass avocado imports from all Latin American origins through September this year, USDA data shows. Over the nine-month period, total imports from the region rose by 20% year-on-year from US$1.7bn to US$2bn.
The growth came amid the lowest California avocado crop in a decade, which created a supply gap for overseas producers.
Mexico was responsible for much of the import uptick this year, with volumes rising from US$1.52bn to US$1.8bn.
But there were also substantial increases in percentage terms from Peru, Chile, the Dominican Republic, and Colombia.
Imports from Peru – the next biggest origin – rose by 24% from US$168m to US$208m. That figure is more than triple imported from Peru in 2016, and also comes amid a 15% reduction in total exports this season.
Chilean supplies in the U.S. rose by 61% from US$17m to US$27m this year through September. This increase came despite the Chilean avocado indsutry also forecasting lower total supplies year-on-year for the 2019-20 season.
Meanwhile, the U.S. imported five-times more Hass avocados from the Dominican Republic. Imports rose from a mere US$485,000 to US$2.4m. And imports from Colombia rose eight-fold from US$393,000 to US$3.2m. Colombia scored U.S. market access in August 2017 under a restrictive export protocol, which was eased slightly earlier this year. It is expected to increase avocado shipments to the U.S. significantly over the next few years.