UF/IFAS study: Although it’s a niche market, guava can be profitable

Nov 03, 15 UF/IFAS study: Although it’s a niche market, guava can be profitable

By: Brad Buck, 352-294-3303, bradbuck@ufl.edu

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Asian guava orchards can bring nine times the profit as mango and avocado, all staples of South Florida’s agricultural sector, a new University of Florida study shows.

But Edward “Gilly” Evans, a UF/IFAS associate professor of food and resource economics, cautioned that guava is a niche market that can easily be oversupplied.

“The fruit is not mainstream, so if everyone were to rush out and start producing it, prices would tumble,” said Evans, a faculty member at the UF/IFAS Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, Florida. “It also involves a lot of work as each fruit has to be netted and bagged to avoid fruit fly damage or blemishes.”

Evans also said: “The main consumers are Asian, in northern cities such as New York and Chicago. The fruit is not as popular elsewhere, even though it is very nutritious and has a lot of health benefits.”

Guava contains several vitamins, including A, B2, C and E, along with calcium, copper, folate, iron, manganese, phosphorus and potassium, he said.

Evans led a study of costs and returns on a 5-acre guava orchard in Miami-Dade County. To get their cost and revenue figures, he and intern Stella Garcia interviewed farmers and Extension agents. Then they put the numbers through several economic calculations.

Although the cost to produce an acre of guava could be as high as $16,893 per acre, on average, revenue could be about $29,657 per acre – a profit of $12,764. On the sample 5-acre orchard, if all goes well, that’s an annual profit of $63,820. With guava, however, growers don’t see profits until two to three years after seeds are planted.

Two halves of a guava can be seen in this UF/IFAS file photo. Although it’s a niche market, guava orchards can bring nine times the profit of avocados, both South Florida agricultural staples, according to a new UF/IFAS study. Edward “Gilly” Evans, a UF/IFAS associate professor of food and resource economics at the Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, led the study. He and his colleague examined a 5-acre orchard in order to give recommendations to growers on whether to start growing guava. Credit: UF/IFAS file.

While researchers don’t know how many people are growing guava, acreage has gone up considerably in the last five years, Evans said.

Now that the study is complete, researchers want to get the information to growers. Scientists discussed using the “stoplight” method of relaying information to growers. That means “red,” meaning “bad,” “yellow,” meaning “OK” and “green,” meaning “good.”

Rather than just presenting growers with a single value of what average profit per acre is, the information is presented in the form of probability or likelihood of getting above or below a specified value. This way, the grower can decide whether an investment is worthwhile, Evans said. In this instance, Evans urged Extension agents to use the stop light approach to guide growers on whether to try to produce guava on their land, based on their ability to turn a profit.

Evans and Garcia see this method as important for the way Extension agents relay information to growers because it is more realistic to indicate a range than to specify a single number.

The guava study has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Extension.

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