Protecting industry growth

NZ Avocado continues to undertake work to secure the future of the New Zealand avocado industry by collaboratively preparing for and effectively responding to pest incursions.

Like all primary production sectors, the New Zealand avocado industry is under the constant threat from exotic plant pests and diseases. Passengers, cargo and even the wind creates opportunities for foreign pest introductions. A continuous effort of looking offshore to understand emerging risks, evaluating risk pathways and evolving the surveillance systems set up to detect new threats, helps protect the industry and its valuable trade agreements. The recent fruit fly response in Auckland has proven the value of an early warning system, a swift response and has highlighted the level of investment that is required to prepare for and sustain an effective biosecurity system.

NZ Avocado continues to engage with researchers, other industry groups, councils and central government to prevent and prepare for new pest incursions. The Government Industry Agreement for Biosecurity Readiness and Response (GIA) is a biosecurity partnership that formalises joint decision-making and cost-sharing. This ensures that industry organisations have a formal role alongside government in managing their biosecurity risks while also creating the platform and relationships needed to engage in the wider biosecurity system.

For established pests, the avocado industry relies on AvoGreen® an industry pest monitoring and management programme. AvoGreen® has evolved beyond a simple IPM programme for responsible spray use to be a pest management system that’s recognised within international trade agreements. The AvoGreen system has dual benefits by also providing an early warning system where trained pest monitors can readily share observations of unusual pests or disease symptoms.

As global trade increases, industries alongside government will need to invest in new ways of detecting and responding to pests. Technology at the border, surveillance systems post border and advances in sustainable control options will need to keep pace with rapidly changing trade dynamics and the global spread of high impact pests and diseases.

Although there are no active biosecurity responses for the avocado industry at this time, for information on pests and diseases under response by MPI click here

For information on the NZ Avocado biosecurity strategies please download the below.

Biosecurity Plan for the NZ Avocado Industry

NZ Avocado biosecurity strategy

Everyone involved in the avocado industry has a role in protecting New Zealand from biosecurity threats

Members of the industry are best placed to notice unusual insects or disease symptoms and provide early warning. If you do see something suspicious, please take a photo TELL SOMEONE and ensure you GET AN ANSWER of what it might be. This could be as simple as your consultant, packhouse liaison or sharing it with NZ Avocado or through the First Detector Facebook page

The MPI Exotic Pests and Disease Pest Hotline 0800 80 99 66 is also available 24 hours to confidentially report suspected pests.

The Biosecurity Levy

In March 2019 the avocado Biosecurity Response Levy Order came into force as the agreed mechanism to fund significant industry response costs. The default levy rate will be set at zero with the levy only being activated as a result of the industry having to re-pay its agreed share of response costs under the Government Industry Agreement.

The maximum rate the Biosecurity Act levy is 0.25% of the sale price for avocados sold on the local market; and 5 cents per tray equivalent on export avocados. The mechanism for collecting and paying the levy is the same process as the industry’s commodity levy. The NZAGA Executive will be responsible for activating the Biosecurity Levy and setting an appropriate rate of levy (up to the agreed maximum).

Previous use of the levy

A fruit fly response during 2019 lead to the avocado industry needing to pay its share of response costs. On the 21st June 2019, the NZAGA Executive set the levy rate at half the maximum at 0.125% for New Zealand market avocados; and 2.5 cents per tray equivalent for export avocados. Levy collection began on 7th September 2019 and ended on 30th April 2020 reverting back to a default rate of zero.  

Managing biosecurity risk with NZ Avocado and Onside

New Zealand Avocado and Onside are working together to protect the industry by making it easier for stakeholders to keep biosecurity traceability records.

Recording movements is free and simple – Anyone in the industry can now use Onside to keep a record of movements that might pose a risk of biosecurity spread, including the movement of nursery plants, organic fert, mulch, machinery and equipment. 

More information can be found at

Who does it affect?

Growers, suppliers, contractors, and anyone in the industry have a responsibility to protect themselves and others from pests and diseases, to prevent industry interruption, maintain market access, and ensure the future resilience of the industry.

Why is it important?

Using Onside to report biosecurity movements on and off orchards will provide fast and nonintrusive access to the traceability data needed to prepare for, and rapidly respond to incursions of diseases such as Avocado sunblotch viroid.

What are the benefits?

  • A data-driven biosecurity response has the capability of being more targeted; meaning the overall impact on the industry can be reduced.
  • Onside provides an anonymised view of movements in the industry to NZ Avocado which means disease spread can be predicted and planned for ahead of an outbreak occurring.
  • This free tool also helps growers and operators meet the biosecurity and traceability requirements of Global GAP.

How can you participate?

Orchard operators:
We’re looking for ‘champion growers’ to join the program and provide initial feedback. It’s free to join so you can play your part in protecting the industry.

Growers with a property already mapped in Onside can simply opt-in through their Onside account.

Please contact Phillip West to get involved

Contractors and orchard workers:
You may start to notice some properties you visit and work on will ask you to check-in using Onside. By following the prompts to do this, you will be contributing to an important project protecting your industry’s future. It only takes seconds to check-in.

You can encourage other orchard managers and contracting companies to join the program by signing up to Onside and activating the free movement recording tool.