Avocados in the Netherlands and the Philippines

Longtime Filipina expatriate Corazon Dee explains her advocacy for healthy living, and shares her love for avocado to Resurgent.

One of my favorite fruits in the Philippines is avocado; now it has become one here in the Netherlands too. Back when I was a young wife in Davao City, I would go to the public market in Bangkerohan, Davao City and buy avocado whenever I could. More often than not, I would be frustrated with the quality of avocados I bought from the market because they were not malagkit (creamy), did not ripen properly, and had a lot of hair-like fibers which affected their taste.  All these frustrations disappeared when one day, my former mother-in-law brought avocados from her farm which are called the Evergreen variety. They were of superior quality – delicious, creamy, ripened properly, and without hair-like fibers. I would delight in making avocado Ice cream, avocado smoothie, and avocado ice candy. Later on, I mixed the avocado with fresh vegetable which I learned in one of my trips to Bali, Indonesia, to the surprise of my mother who only knew avocado for dessert fruit. 

More recently, I have turned to eating more avocados than I usually did in the past because of my newfound healthy breakfast concoction of a piece of small size avocado or a finger of banana mixed with 2 cups of half full cream milk, 2 tablespoons of chia seeds, a tablespoon of dried cranberries and 2 tablespoons of cereals. I have been having these mixtures since January of this year resulting in less joint pains and better cholesterol levels!

Health buffs have realized the health benefits of avocados such that in the Netherlands there is a restaurant in Amsterdam called Avocado Show which includes avocado in all its dishes. Numerous scholarly publications have ascertained the health benefits of avocados. They are nutritious, containing numerous vitamins and minerals e.g. more potassium than bananas), more good cholesterol than other fruits, and more fiber which contributes to weight loss. It is good for the heart, lowers cholesterol, helps one absorb other fats in plant foods, is high in antioxidants, and may help prevent cancer and arthritis. 

Avocados in the Netherlands are imported (Fresh Plaza, 2017) compared to the Philippines where they grow bountifully. Sadly, it is not produced in commercial quantity nor for the export market.  A study done by Sotto (n.d.) of UPLB, Philippines which shows the production of avocados up to 1998 and the potential it has as an industry just like banana, pineapple, cacao and coconut. 

Here’s the conclusion of the Sotto study: 

Despite the long list of limitations and constraints to avocado production development, the future of the avocado in the country looks to be bright. A plus factor is the presence of more than half a million bearing trees in the country from which outstanding selections could be made. With appropriate promotion of the avocado as one of the most nutritious fruits in the world, with a wide variety of uses, the market for the avocado would expand. In the future, improved production technology coupled with improved post-harvest and processing technology would Whether for personal consumption for individuals like me who have long appreciated the nutritional value of avocados and entrepreneurs who will venture on the commercial production of avocados in the Philippines, there is an urgent need to spread the news so that more Filipinos will know and will realize the potential contribution of avocados to one’s individual bodily health as well as the economic health of the country.

(The first time Corazon Dee was abroad was in Taiwan in 1988. Since then, she has traveled extensively across five of the world's seven continents. Her sojourns for work and pleasure have allowed her "a lot of opportunities to see, observe and compare life.  There is a lot to learn from different countries – laws, culture, family upbringing, food, savings and investments practices, urban planning, economic and social policies, insurance system.")

(She adds: "Whether for personal consumption for individuals like me who have long appreciated the nutritional value of avocados and entrepreneurs who will venture on the commercial production of avocados in the Philippines, there is an urgent need to spread the news so that more Filipinos will know and will realize the potential contribution of avocados to one’s individual bodily health as well as the economic health of the country.")