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On The Way To Meet Audacious Goals - Growers Rewarded With Record New Zealand Avocado Season

The New Zealand avocado industry has just reported its highest value ever with avocados sales reaching $198 million, an increase of $64 million on last season and $62 million higher than the previous record of $136 million in 2013-14. Volume too was a record 7.7 million trays in the 2016-17 season - an 84% increase on last season. The season saw significant increases in demand across all markets, with Australia remaining the industry’s largest market with an almost insatiable consumer demand. Over 70% of New Zealand avocados are exported with the remaining avocados sold in New Zealand. New Zealanders too are finding more and tastier ways to use avocados, and starting to add them regularly to their shopping basket. Jen Scoular, Chief Executive of NZ Avocado, says the industry’s Primary Growth Partnership programme: NZ Avocados Go Global, has provided a major boost to the sector. "We are part of an industry that has gone from $70 million in value in 2013 to an impressive $200 million in 2017. The Go Global programme gave us the platform as an industry to develop a strategy with audacious goals of quadrupling sales and trebling productivity in ten years. That strategy, and Crown investment has been implemented and resulted in fantastic growth in value right across the supply chain” says Scoular. "The independent review of the NZ Avocados Go Global programme said the five-year programme had made a major contribution to the New Zealand avocado industry,” says Scoular. "The review noted that we’ve achieved a step change in the way the industry operates and it’s now a much more trusting, collaborative, cohesive, communicative and co-ordinated industry, with a correspondingly greater public profile.” Alistair Petrie, Chair of the Avocado Exporter Council said, "We saw a superb increase in demand that was matched by excellent planning and supply from harvest through to delivery to customers in market. Versatility, health benefits and the amazing taste of avocados are the key drivers for that demand.” Ashby Whitehead, Chair of NZ Avocado, says the industry is in the best state it has been for many years. "With the huge increase in value from avocados and much higher visibility of the global opportunities, we are seeing strong growth throughout the industry. Demand for new trees has resulted in a near trebling of production at nurseries, large commercial investors in Northland are converting dairy farms to avocado orchards and smaller orchards are maximising the productivity of their orchards. Growers will be very happy with their returns and are looking at further investment. It’s a very exciting time to be in the New Zealand avocado industry.”

Pest alert: Myrtle Rust found in Kerikeri

Following the detection of the exotic fungus ‘Myrtle rust’ on Raoul Island last month, it has now been found on New Zealand’s mainland in Kerikeri. Spores of this fungal rust are easily spread by wind and, although not a pest of avocado trees, attacks plants of the myrtaceae family which includes many New Zealand natives (pohutukawa, rata, kanuka, manuka and ramarama) as well as some exotic fruit trees like Feijoa. Growers can help by looking out for symptoms on their native myrtaceae trees for powdery, bright yellow or orange-yellow pustules on leaves, tips and stems. For more information, please see the MPI update. If you think you have seen this fungal disease, please call MPI’s Exotic Pests and Diseases hotline - 0800 80 99 66.

Send in your bugs

Plant & Food Research are currently conducting research on the potential to use a parasitic wasp (T. japonicus) as a biocontrol option should a population of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) be detected in New Zealand. In a response, these wasps would be released to seek out and parasitize BMSB eggs. To enable the legal import of this wasp it is important to first understand its potential impact on our native shield bug populations. Plant & Food research therefore need a supply of native shield bugs to test whether T. japonicus parasitizes them and you can help by sending in any shield bugs, in particular they need Schellenberg’s soldier bug, Oechalia schellenbergii,(pictured right). Plant & Food Research asks that the live insects, and some of the plant foliage on which they were found, be placed in a paper bag (or wrapped in paper towelling), then placed in a plastic bag. The plastic bag prevents everything from drying out and the paper absorbs excess condensation. They can then be boxed (for protection) and couriered to: Sophie Hunt New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research 120 Mt Albert Road Sandringham  Auckland 1025. Please include a note with collection data (where collected, name of collector etc.).

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Upcoming Events

Horticulture NZ conference

08:00 AM, 12 July 2017

Horticulture is the primary industries’ quiet achiever – expanding, growing and meeting global consumer demands for healthy food. Growers play a valuable role in the New Zealand economy, both at a local level as producers, employers and food suppliers to New Zealanders, and with exports. The Horticulture Conference is the place to be for industry to get together and share ideas, learn about innovation to improve their business, hear inspirational and influential speakers, connect and socialise. Head to http://www.confer.co.nz/hortnz2017/to find out more.

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