Rich man’s fruit? In a first, India plans to import avocado from Brazil to tame domestic prices

  • To be sure, import of avocado is allowed under OGL (open general licence). However, Brazil is one of the largest growers of avocado, and this will be a part of a larger agriculture deal that is in the works between the two countries.

Puja Das
First Published18 Jun 2024, 07:00 AM IST
A rich source of antioxidants and monounsaturated fats, avocado fetches exorbitant prices of  <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>100 to  <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>2,000 a kg in India, depending on the variety. Imported avocados cost more than local ones.
A rich source of antioxidants and monounsaturated fats, avocado fetches exorbitant prices of ₹100 to ₹2,000 a kg in India, depending on the variety. Imported avocados cost more than local ones.

In a first, India is planning to import avocado, a fruit often touted as a rich man's food, from Brazil, and the move is likely to tame skyrocketing prices, two people said.

A rich source of antioxidants and monounsaturated fats, avocado fetches exorbitant prices of 100 to 2,000 a kg in India, depending on the variety. Imported avocados cost more than local ones.

On e-tailers, the average price of avocado is between 250-600 per kg in metro cities like Delhi and Bengaluru.

To be sure, import of avocado is allowed under OGL (open general licence). However, Brazil is one of the largest growers of avocado, and this will be a part of a larger agriculture deal that is in the works between the two countries. These imports, in turn, will help bring down avocado prices in India.

Read more: European Commission levies anti-dumping duty on optical fibre cables from India

“As part of India-Brazil cooperation, Brazil will supply hass avocado (a variety with dark green, bumpy skin) to India. Buyers from India and sellers from Brazil are working out the contracts, and these are expected to be finalise soon, maybe in a month or two,” Angelo de Queiroz Mauricio, agricultural attaché at Brazil’s embassy in New Delhi told Mint. 

“In Brazil, we have demand for the bigger avocados and the ones we will be exporting to India will be the smaller ones that we do not consume much.”

Jorge se Souza, Technical & Project Manager for Abrafrutas, the Brazilian Fruit Growers and Exporters Association said, “India has already approved exports of Brazilian avocados and a technical protocol is being worked out between Brazil and India. Brazil will likely start exporting small amounts like 200-300 tonnes at the beginning, but those volumes will be increased from the moment customers know better the flavour and quality of such a fruit. The plan is to start avocado exports from February 2025.

ApexBrasil, Brazil's exort promotion and investment agency, will hold a workshop in Mumbai by the end of August to promote Brazilian avocado.

In India, the fruit is grown on a limited scale in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Sikkim, so most of the avocados found in supermarkets, local markets or on e-grocers are imported. 

So far, Indian demand has mostly been met by imports from Tanzania, Australia, New Zealand, Peru and US.

Read more: India to seek three-year carbon tax exemption for MSMEs in trade talks with EU

In FY24, India imported avocados worth $13.5 million, including $10.6 million worth from Tanzania, around $1 million from Australia and less than $1 million from New Zealand, an increase of around 99% from FY23’s $6.8 million on low base, data from the Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO) showed.

“A lot of Indians who were not earlier aware of some fruits like avocado have developed a taste for that and they are willing to pay a price for it. As domestic supply increases, the price will automatically come down," Ajay Sahai, Director General & CEO of FIEO, said.

“As farmers grow more avocados in view of the lucrative prices or incentives available at this point, supply will be more and thereby weighing on prices,” he added.

Queries sent to the commerce and external affairs departments remained unanswered at press time.

Introduced from Sri Lanka in the early twentieth century into India, avocado is not a commercial fruit crop in the country. By contrast, Brazil, the sixth-largest avocado producer globally, produced 338,000 tonnes in 2022.

Read more: Private investments taking off; consumption growing: CII president Sanjiv Puri

India mainly imports crude oil, soya oil, gold, raw sugar, Asbestos, copper ores, iron ores, manganese, kidney beans, cowpeas, valves and motor pumps from Brazil. Bilateral trade has grown steadily with a target of increasing it to $50 billion by 2030 from $15.2 billion in FY22.

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First Published:18 Jun 2024, 07:00 AM IST
HomeEconomyRich man’s fruit? In a first, India plans to import avocado from Brazil to tame domestic prices

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