(Nov. 6) Industry officials estimate a 1% to 2% loss on the California’s avocado crop with a similar toll to citrus crops from the devastating fires in southern California.

With an a forecasted increase of 12% or more, there shouldn’t be any shortages of the upcoming crop, said Tom Bellamore, senior vice president and corporate counsel of the California Avocado Commission, Irvine.

“We know as much as 700 acres were impacted by the fires out of 60,000 acres of avocados,” Bellamore said. “That is down to about 1% of total acreage lost or damaged.”

While the overall picture for the fruit isn’t diminished, individual growers face difficult obstacles.

“I just know of one case in which the fire destroyed a large parcel, but I suspect more than one was destroyed. Our sympathies go out to those who lost property,” Bellamore said. “In most cases the fire swept through a portion of the grove and the trees suffered some damage.”

Rob Wedin, vice president of sales of Calavo Growers, Santa Ana, Calif., estimates about 2% of their crops were affected by fire.

He said 500 acres out of 25,000 have been damaged.

“I think it still hasn’t become a major issue to the overall industry, except for the effects those individuals have with damage,” Wedin said.

The industry will continue to evaluate the effects of the fires that ravaged Southern California.

“Our field representatives are going out to the fields and making an assessment of damage,” said Bellamore.

The commission is evaluating the value of the fruit lost because trees that can no longer produce or will be out of production for a number of years.

The Ventura County Agricultural Commissioner’s office reported $11 million in damage to crops in Ventura County, said Dave Kranz, spokesman for the California Farm Bureau Federation, Sacramento.

In this disaster the overall supplies of avocado and citrus fruit won’t have not too much of an impact, unless it was your crop that was destroyed, then it is a 100% impact,” Kranz said. “It’s still a little sketchy as to having actual figures of the damage.”

He estimates the amount of citrus crop damaged or destroyed is minor to the overall supply.

In Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties no loss in agriculture had been reported to the farm bureau, Kranz said.

“The county ag commissioner in San Diego has been focusing on getting aid to farmers and ranchers affected im
mediately by the fire and we expect something (a damage report) by the end of the week,” Kranz said Nov. 5.