Avocado in Costa Rica

Origin of avocado

Scientific name: Persea Americana

Common name: Avocado

The name “avocado” comes from the Nahuatl “ahuacatl”, which means ‘fruit of the avocado’, but also ‘testicle’. In other areas of America, the avocado is called “palta”, a name that comes from the Quechua language.

Origin: The avocado is a tree species native to a wide geographical area, extending from the central and eastern highlands of Mexico and Guatemala, to the Pacific coast of Central America, and its natural distribution reaches as far north as Peru. It is currently cultivated worldwide under different environmental and climatic conditions that vary from desert areas in Israel and southern California, subtropical highlands and tropical rainforests as in Central America, to regions of South Africa and Australia subject to foggy conditions. However, the largest cultivated area is concentrated throughout the Americas.


Production situation in Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, avocado production has been centered mainly in the area of Los Santos (León Cortés, Tarrazú and Dota) and Frailes de Desamparados with the Hass variety on the one hand; and on the other hand, in the Central Pacific area (San Mateo, Esparza and Orotina) with the Antillana variety. Additionally, plantations can also be found in Perez Zeledon, Coto Brus and some places in Guanacaste.

Although accurate statistics are not available, it is estimated that the number of hectares dedicated to this crop is around 1,800 hectares and that there are around 800 producers.

The avocado supply in Costa Rica is available throughout the year. In fact, high altitude production takes place mainly between July and February, while lowland avocado production is centered in the months between March and June, so both productions complement each other in a good way.

Costa Rican avocado market

Current markets: According to TradeMap data for 2018, Costa Rica exported 11 metric tons, of which 10 tons were exported to Panama and only 1 ton was destined for the United States.

Competition from Costa Rica

In 2018, the main avocado exporters in the world were Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain and Peru. Mexico is the largest exporter of avocado worldwide so this country is recognized as the biggest competition for Costa Rica in this sector.

Author: M. Barrantes for Sensorial Sunsets