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Horticulture represented in Police & Rural Stakeholders Partnership

- 21 Dec '16

HortNZ recently approached Ashby Whitehead to ask for a grower nomination to join the Police & Rural Stakeholders Partnership. Dave Flett, a BOP grower and a NZAGA & AIC Board member, has accepted this position. 

Dave has a background in sales and marketing and made the move into horticulture five years ago when he and his wife, Julie, purchased an avocado orchard in the Bay of Plenty.

The Police & Rural Stakeholders Partnership, chaired by Bay of Plenty farmer Rick Powdrell from Federated Farmers, promotes a collaborative approach between rural communities and the police to raise visibility for agriculture crime and reduce issues for farmers and growers.  

"Avocados have been impacted severely at times by thieves”, says New Zealand Avocado CEO Jen Scoular. "The New Zealand Police provided excellent support for growers at the time but it is important that industry is involved going forward in solutions to protecting avocado crops.

"The increasing value of avocados and the shortage last season created a real problem in April and May this year, with avocados being stolen in the dead of night by what may have been gangs of thieves. 

"Avocados are not the only crop affected and thieves regularly target horticulture, especially when there are crop shortages and as a result, prices are high. It is important that horticulture is able to contribute to solutions devised by the New Zealand Police and so we welcome Dave Flett joining the Police & Rural Stakeholders Partnership,” Ms Scoular says.

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Early bird tickets on sale now - NZ Avocado International Industry Conference

Tickets are now on sale for the New Zealand Avocado International Industry conference to be held 29-31 August 2018 at ASB Baypark, Tauranga, New Zealand. An event that only happens every 3-4 years, the conference is a great opportunity to be inspired, to connect with others and to enable growers to enhance their knowledge and be better prepared to grow quality fruit for the world. Themed 'growing avocados for the world' the event represents the exciting opportunity the industry has to continue to expand across an international marketplace, and will showcase an array of industry speakers. Loren Zhao, Co-founder of Chinese online produce company Fruit Day, will travel to New Zealand to speak to avocado growers at conference. “Recent market access approval for avocados from New Zealand to China has resulted in an exciting new opportunity for the avocado industry.” says Chair Tony Ponder. “Growers and industry stakeholders are hungry for knowledge about this new market for our avocados and we are privileged to have a speaker of Loren’s calibre show interest in the avocados we grow here in New Zealand.” Fruit day is China’s largest online fresh produce retailer with over 4 million customers shopping online for imported fruit and vegetables every day. “We have seen huge growth in demand for avocados in China over the past three years as information about the health benefits becomes more well known by wealthy Chinese consumers” says Zhao. The current boom in health, wellness and fitness, plus a consumer focus on food provenance and food safety puts New Zealand in a great position to align itself with the needs of Chinese consumers. Zhao says “With a great reputation for quality throughout Asia, there is a lot of interest from retailers in China on obtaining New Zealand avocado supply.” Also speaking will be Dr Nicholas Gill, performance coach and head strength and conditioning coach of the All Blacks. Gill, an avocado grower himself, will speak to growers about the role of avocados in peak sporting performance and how they can be used to help everyday New Zealanders who want to live healthier lifestyles. “In my role as a performance coach I meet many Kiwi mums and dads who are becoming aware of their own health going downhill, and seeing their own bad habits reflected in the habits of their kids.” says Gill. “Whether its elite performance on the rugby pitch or just living healthier every day, fresh fruit and vegetables like avocado play a key role in helping New Zealanders live healthier lives.” For more information or to purchase tickets go to www.avocadoconference.co.nz

Strong avocado returns driving investment into industry

MEDIA RELEASE - 31 May 2018 The New Zealand avocado industry has just posted the draft result for the 2017-18 season of $150m in sales, with $105m from export markets and $45m from the New Zealand market.  This outstanding result has been achieved from 3.8m trays, just 50% of the production volume of the previous year, which achieved $200m across all markets.  Avocado exporters and New Zealand avocado suppliers acknowledge it has been a phenomenal season for avocado demand, with record returns to growers.  New Zealand Avocado Growers Association Chair Tony Ponder says “The Government’s five year Primary Growth Partnership investment and the commitment of research funding through Plant and Food Research and MBIE has strongly supported growth in returns to avocado growers.”  Orchard gate returns were as high as $40 per tray, a huge improvement from the $10-$12 per tray prior to this investment in 2012.  NZ Avocado CEO Jen Scoular comments “Demand continues to grow in all markets, and the focus is now on increasing productivity of existing orchards and supporting new orchard development.”  Growth in returns driving investment “Over 1,000 hectares of dairy and dry stock farms in Northland have been converted to avocado orchards over the past three years, and some of these orchards are expecting their first crops in the coming season” says Scoular.  In the Bay of Plenty, orchardists are rejuvenating orchards and investing in implementing best practice orchard management to reap the high values being returned for premium quality avocados.  These new avocado plantings and improving production will enable further growth towards the industry goal of $280m in total sales value by 2023. This will also help to bridge the current gap between avocado supply and demand in New Zealand and globally, with a growing supply of New Zealand fruit for avocado lovers to enjoy.  

China Market Is Open For Avocados From New Zealand

New Zealand Avocado is very excited by the opportunity to export avocados to China in the 2018 season following a successful technical audit of the regulatory system for exporting this week. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) signed the protocol to agree export requirements in November 2017, and a successful audit was the final step in enabling the export of avocados to China. The New Zealand industry has been seeking access for four years and through that time has been building an understanding of the market, with exporters building relationships in the China market. NZ Avocado has attended the China International Fruit and Vegetable Fair in Beijing for the last four years, on the New Zealand stand with other horticulture sectors. “Gaining access to China for our avocados has been a key focus for the board,” says Tony Ponder, Chair of NZ Avocado. “We recognised the need to commit to that market with regular visits to build relationships at a political and commercial level.” NZ Avocado will airfreight a trial shipment to Shanghai in the current season, which will be enjoyed by kiwis at a New Zealand Trade and Enterprise arranged event at NZ Central. Zespri staff at their China head office in Shanghai will also enjoy some avocados from the trial shipment. Avocado imports into China are increasing very strongly as Chinese consumers learn about the impressive nutritional properties of avocados. Mexico, Peru and Chile are the only other countries with access to the huge Chinese market. The global demand for avocados has certainly hit China, says Jen Scoular, CEO of NZ Avocado. “We are thrilled to be able to offer avocados from New Zealand to consumers, who are keen to add avocados to their daily diet.” “Recent research about avocados from New Zealand show that avocados grown in New Zealand have 20 percent more folate and twice as much vitamin B6 than avocados grown elsewhere, and we will be exploring our messaging in China in regard to that differentiation,” says Scoular. The 2018 export season starts in August, and the first shipments are likely to be in mid to late September, reports Alistair Petrie, Chair of the Avocado Export Council. “We have been anticipating access to China for some time and it is exciting to now have the opportunity. We have established relationships in China and will work with them to develop niche markets for our avocados,” says Petrie. Ponder acknowledges the extensive work, support and cooperation by MPI, AQSIQ officials, and New Zealand Avocado - this work has enabled significant progress in New Zealand’s trade with China. He acknowledges the growers and packer involved in the trial who he says put in significant time and resource on behalf of the industry to ensure this last step was successful.

New Zealand avocados step closer to China

New Zealand is a significant step closer towards supplying fresh avocados to Chinese consumers and opening up access to a brand new market for our growers, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and New Zealand Avocado announced Friday 17 November 2017. A series of technical discussions and the negotiation and signing of a protocol to agree export requirements for avocados have successfully wrapped up between MPI and China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), with input from New Zealand’s avocado industry. The next step before trade commences is an audit of New Zealand’s regulatory system for exporting avocados by AQSIQ in mid-December 2017. “Securing export access for our avocados into China is New Zealand’s top horticulture priority,” says MPI Director-General Martyn Dunne. “I would like to acknowledge the extensive work, support and cooperation by MPI, industry body New Zealand Avocado and AQSIQ officials in enabling this significant progress in New Zealand’s trade with China.” In the 2016/17 season, New Zealand’s avocado industry achieved its best ever season reaching a record breaking industry value of more than $200 million from 7.9 million trays. Avocados are still relatively unknown in China, but demand for New Zealand’s avocados has boomed.  In 2016/17, New Zealand exported $155.5 million of avocados into markets such as Australia, Japan, Singapore, Korea and Thailand – growth of around $64 million from the previous season. China is expected to be a significant market for New Zealand avocados. “China is very aware of the significant global increase in avocado consumption, the associated health benefits and the strong growth and huge potential in the avocado category,” says New Zealand Avocado Chief Executive Jen Scoular. “Our conversations with Chinese importers show there will be strong interest in New Zealand avocados.” “Our aim is to create a globally competitive, high-value, sustainable horticulture industry delivering real returns to New Zealand,” says Tony Ponder, Chair of the New Zealand Avocado Growers Association. “We’re well on the way towards this, and access to China for our avocados will play a big part.” Avocado exports will join New Zealand’s other fresh fruit exports to China that include apples, kiwifruit, cherries, plums, citrus and persimmons. Martyn Dunne says the progress towards avocado access into China is a good demonstration of the strength of collaboration and positive, respectful relationships. “The progress to date towards securing access for our avocados is underpinned by collaboration and the positive relationship shared by both New Zealand and China,” says Mr Dunne. “MPI and the avocado industry are committed to getting our avocado trade with China underway as soon as possible.” Growth in the avocado industry is also being enabled through the New Zealand Avocados Go Global Primary Growth Partnership programme between New Zealand Avocado and MPI.  It’s a 5-year, $8.56 million collaboration that has made real progress towards goals to triple productivity and grow industry returns to $280 million per year by 2023.

Guide on how to be healthy and safe in horticulture

At this time of year, life is getting busy for avocado businesses. Unfortunately, when workplaces get busy, the likelihood of someone being harmed while working increases. Read more about how you can be healthy and safe in horticulture. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 all businesses have a responsibility to keep workers healthy and safe. “What this takes is some underlying health and safety planning and management as part of your everyday operation. It’s not just about paperwork, it’s about everyday good business practice,” says Al McCone, WorkSafe Sector Lead for Agriculture. “The key is in three simple actions:  identify the risks work out how to eliminate them (or if they can’t be eliminated, managed) then make sure everyone in the workplace understands both risks and management.  ‘Everyone’ includes contractors. There are specific requirements when other businesses are working on your property - you need to make sure you are aware of each other’s risks and are jointly managing these. “There are some real basics you need to get right, like making sure machinery and vehicles are fit for purpose and safe to use, or making sure that people are competent to safely do the tasks they are doing.  “In addition, you need to pay real attention to the things that can cause fatalities and serious injuries – for these ‘critical’ risks, you need to work out how to separate the person from the risk.”   WorkSafe New Zealand and Horticulture NZ have published a horticulture-specific guide called Keep Safe, Keep Growing:  How to be Healthy and Safe in Horticulture to help you. The guide will help you work out:the best way for you to identify, manage and communicate health and safety risks to family and workers what part other people on farm should play in risk management. “Health and safety doesn’t just happen. It needs a conscious decision to make a healthy and safe workplace. ” says McCone.

Biosecurity Week 2017 kicks off

Pests and diseases from offshore can cause serious harm to New Zealand's unique environment and primary industries; and the Port of Tauranga is one of many potential gateways.Biosecurity Week activities highlight the importance of biosecurity and the role that everyone in the Bay of Plenty can play in managing unwanted biosecurity risks says Kiwifruit Vine Health Chief Executive Barry O’Neil.“We’re looking forward to talking to people who work on and around the Port about biosecurity – it’s such an important issue and one that really does affect everyone.”“People who own and work at local businesses remember what Psa has done to the kiwifruit industry. There are bugs and pests that we don’t want here in New Zealand because of the devastating effect they will have not only on kiwifruit, but on the whole of our horticulture industry and environment.”“A good example is a particular type of bug we’re concerned about – it’s one of our most unwanted and called the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. It’s a major nuisance that attacks fruit when it feeds and ruins it. It infests homes and in the USA we’ve seen it stop people from being able to sit outside their homes and have a simple BBQ”.Port staff, transitional facilities, associated industries (such as transporters and other logistical operators), and biosecurity experts will be meeting at several events over the next six days to raise awareness and understanding of the importance of managing biosecurity risk.Special guest Ruud 'The Bug Man' Kleinpaste will also be attending several industry and community school group presentations during the week to discuss the vital role of everyone who works and lives in and around the Port and local community in keeping unwanted pests and diseases out of New Zealand.Throughout the week there will also be discussions with post-harvest facilities and transitional facilities to learn more about the frontline biosecurity systems they have in place. Biosecurity Week is part of the biosecurity excellence partnership between Port of Tauranga, the Ministry for Primary Industries, Kiwifruit Vine Health, NZ Avocado, Dairy NZ, Forestry Owners Association, NZ Customs and Bay of Plenty Regional Council.The award-winning partnership aims to build a port community committed to biosecurity excellence, with an ambitious goal of no biosecurity incursions coming through the Port of Tauranga. It is a successful regional example of the Ministry for Primary Industries, local industries and regional government, partnering to build a biosecurity team of 4.7 million New Zealanders.It also benefits from strong engagement with the science community, including a formal partnership with the New Zealand’s Biological Heritage national science challenge and the B3 (Better Border Biosecurity) science collaboration. This has been boosted by a $1.95 million co-funded research project with B3 to trial new tools and technologies in the port environment, monitor biosecurity awareness amongst the local community, and measure the impacts of changes on biosecurity risk.Port of Tauranga Chief Executive Mark Cairns said the week provides a good opportunity to strengthen the significance of biosecurity within the Port community. “Effective biosecurity awareness is critical to us running a successful business and being able to continue to service the Bay of Plenty region. The various events we’re holding for our staff, contractors and local businesses who regularly interact with us and our facilities will give us the chance to show people what they should be looking out for and what to do if they find anything.”“It’s an opportunity to demonstrate the good work that happens here at the Port, day in day out, to keep an eye out.”“Our people are at the frontline – they’re the ones most likely to first notice an unwanted pest on cargo, vehicles or equipment moving off the port. By knowing what to look for and reporting unfamiliar insects or suspicious looking pests they help protect everyone’s livelihood and the future of the kiwifruit, avocado and forestry sectors.”

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