Peruvian Avocado Commission Establishes Organic Avocado Committee to Spotlight Organics; Xavier Equihua and Bob Lucy Comment
PERU - This year’s avocado season aligns with a pivotal movement in the organic sector. All signs point toward a continued rise in demand, and the Peruvian Avocado Commission (PAC) is taking full advantage of this. The organization recently established its dedicated Organic Avocado Committee for the federal promotions program, devoting resources for organic avocado supplies in the United States. This marks the first move to market an organic product under the federally funded organization.
“We are going to be a very strong player in organics this summer so we are introducing an organic avocado marketing program,” said PAC President Xavier Equihua, noting that it is the organization’s first time promoting organic avocados in this manner with these funds. He continued, saying organics are “one of the fastest growing sub-categories for the produce industry and Avocados from Peru wants to inspire other associations operating under a federal promotion program to do the same and start incorporating organics into their promotions.”
Equihua added that there is a movement to launch a non-commodity-specific organic promotion program. As one of the key staffers who coordinated the legislation to establish the Organic Food Production Act during his years as a key trade advisor on Capitol Hill, he brings an expert perspective to the mechanics of the National Organic Program law.
Under the National Organic Program, producers, handlers, and importers may request an exemption for assessments paid to a federal promotion program, a press release explained. This summer, PAC is promoting organic avocados to retailers with custom-designed programs, and the funds are coming through the assessments of the importer community.
“Xavier is the first person to do a carve out program for organic avocados,” Bob Lucy, President of Del Rey Avocado Company and Chairman of the Avocados from Peru Marketing Committee, said. “A number of retailers have already signed up. This is a great opportunity to promote Peruvian organics this year.”
Avocados from Peru is working individually with retailers around the country to customize promotion programs and has several different options to choose from.
Equihua added that avocado promotion groups are the experts, just as other commodity groups are well-versed in their fresh product. As such, he does not believe an organic program covering all commodities can be as effective as a program launched within a single commodity group.
“We want to be the inspiration for other producers and hope they follow our lead in promoting organics,” he said. “We also want U.S. policymakers to take note and realize that a national organic promotion is not the path to take.”
Peru has entered its heavy shipping period this season as organic avocado volume remains light. Equihua estimated that 4 to 5 percent of Peru’s avocados destined for the United States in 2021 will be organic.
As we monitor further movement across the organic sector, keep a tab open for AndNowUKnow.