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

- 17 May '17

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.”

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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.”

New Chair for New Zealand Avocado Growers Association

Avocado grower and Avocado Growers Association Representative Tony Ponder has been elected as the new NZAGA & AIC Chair."It’s an exciting time to be in the New Zealand avocado industry, with an incredible increase in industry value and the positive collaboration throughout the industry”, says Ponder.Tony has replaced Ashby Whitehead who stepped down as Chair at the Annual General Meeting in August.  Ashby served as Chair since 2013 and as a Representative on the NZAGA Executive and AIC Ltd Board since 2006.“I acknowledge the leadership provided by the previous Chair, Ashby Whitehead, which has resulted in tremendous progress and positioned the industry well for future growth.”Tony has been one of the eight grower-elected directors on the NZAGA & AIC Board since 2005.Tony and his wife Nicky have an 11 hectare avocado orchard investment in the Coromandel district, and more recently have purchased a 26-hectare property in Tauranga with existing avocado, berry and kiwifruit. Tony also has commercial kiwifruit interests acting as an independent director for a large family based avocado & kiwifruit orchard and packing company in the Bay of Plenty.Tony’s day to day responsibilities include Director & Chief Executive Officer of avocado, berry and kiwifruit exporter Southern Produce Limited. In this role, Tony is involved in the strategic oversight of the groups export and domestic business including the Avoco/Avanza joint venture with Primor Produce and Team Avocado. Tony is a director of several related collaborations and joint venture entities associated with avocado trading and investment.“The New Zealand avocado industry is experiencing a period of impressive growth – a huge part of that being due to the work being undertaken to achieve Primary Growth Partnership Go Global goal of quadrupling sales and trebling productivity by 2023”, says Ponder.NZAGA Grower Representative Linda Flegg has been elected as the Vice Chair of the NZAGA. Linda was elected to the Board in 2016 and is the At Large region grower representative. Linda is an avocado grower on the Kauri Point Peninsular in Bay of Plenty and has been in and around avocados her whole life. Linda, along with her family, run their avocado and kiwifruit orchard businesses in Katikati.

Nic Gill - avocado as the Ferrari of fruit

Dr Nic Gill shares about why avocados are the "Ferrari of fruit" and talks about avocados as a part of a high performance athletes diet. Nic also shares his favourite avocado smoothie recipe. Watch here: Nic Gill - avocado as the "Ferrari of fruit"

Nic Gill - avocado grower

Dr Nic Gill tells us about why he chose to grow avocados and why he loves them. Watch here: Nic Gill - Avocado grower

Kiwis Assured All Fresh Avocados Eaten in New Zealand are Grown Here

“All fresh avocados eaten in New Zealand are grown here,” says New Zealand Avocado CEO Jen Scoular, mitigating concerns that we import the fruit from Mexico. Criticism of Mexican growing practices was raised by an article published this week by the New Zealand Herald in the Lifestyle Section article headlined “Why you should stop eating avocados.”* Scoular says the article has caused confusion and New Zealand Avocado had fielded some concerned calls from the public for clarification about the origins of the fruit in New Zealand. New Zealand Avocado says the facts are: New Zealand does not import any fresh avocados. All our fruit is grown here, and consumed by Kiwis as well as exported, and our industry business model is environmentally sustainable. All of the fresh avocados that are sold in New Zealand supermarkets must comply with food safety protocols that ensure they are free of unsafe chemical residues and are safe for consumption. Furthermore, New Zealand researchers have discovered that New Zealand-grown avocados have unique nutritional qualities, with double the amount of Vitamin B6 and 20 percent more folate than those grown in other countries. “The article is misleading because it doesn’t mention New Zealand’s positive role in the international avocado industry. We don’t want Kiwis to be put off purchasing avocados based on incorrect information and a lack of knowledge and understanding about our successful and sustainable industry,” she says. Scoular says she is confident that Kiwis’ love affair with avocados will continue, and New Zealand Avocado encourages discussion around origin and sustainability. “It’s great the public are asking these questions, we want to ensure they are properly informed.” The New Zealand avocado season officially launched last week, it runs from August to April, but fresh avocados can be supplied year around in New Zealand. “Avocados are simply one of the best everyday simple, healthy, delicious foods. And it is wonderful the new research has uncovered that New Zealand avocados are especially healthy.” * http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=11904488

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