Avocado Shortage Becomes Real In South Africa

Avocados have been hailed as the favourite grub of millennials ever since the green fruit began dominating the Instagram scene in the form of avocado toast, avo lattes, avocado margaritas, avocado buns, and various other tasty treats.

The sad news is that avocado has fallen on some hard times globally and while the delicious fruit won’t entirely disappear from the grocery aisle any time soon, South Africans can certainly expect the prices to jump up in the next few months.

“There is presently a shortage of avocados as they are out of season”, says Derek Donkin, CEO of SA Subtropical Growers’ Association.

The South African avocado season runs from mid to late February to October. There are some production regions in SA where avocados can be harvested from November to January, but they only represent a small portion of the crop, Donkin told Business Insider SA.

On its website, Woolworths warned that it is experiencing supply shortages. “We are working hard to resolve this, and apologise for the temporary inconvenience.”

When you do get your hands on the green gold, be prepared to pay up.

At Woolworths, a two-pack of ripe avocados will set you back R54.99, while at Pick n Pay you can get two for R49.99.

This is a far cry from prices seen in March last year, when you could get an avo – though admittedly not “ripe and ready” – at Shoprite for less than R7.

While the temporary supply squeeze is causing pain in some South African households, locals have largely been spared the big increases in avocado prices in the rest of the world. Weak harvests in Mexico, which delivers 45% of the world’s output, have caused prices in the US to double between 2018 and 2019.

Local price hikes have been more subdued thanks to South Africa being the world’s eighth biggest producer of avocados, which (usually) ensures a steady supply in the domestic market.