Industry review and compliance – March 2021

By Jen Scoular

It’s quite incredible the information we willingly (or inadvertently) give when we sign up for something as simple as a store or website loyalty programme. Many people provide huge amounts of very personal information to google, we share where we’ve been, in fact where we are, who we are with and so often, exactly what we ate. So it can’t be a privacy issue that’s stopping 3 out of every 4 people checking in with the Covid tracer app, and we all need to do better. Just do it, as Nike says.

Our industry is going through a review of its structure to ensure it is relevant now and for the future. We haven’t reviewed the structure for a long time, and with the significant growth in our industry, its timely to be asking the different types of grower and stakeholder what is important to them, and what works and doesn’t work. The board has shared the review report and is seeking further feedback prior to a full day meeting in late February.

The diversity of our industry was highlighted.  We have 1,800 orchards although 500-700 only produce fruit every few years. Our largest producing orchard is 120 hectares and we have new developments of orchards that will be up to 200 hectares. Yet the average sized orchard is less than 3 hectares. There are 50 orchards (4% of total) over 10 hectares, and these produce 23% of the volume. 80% of the volume comes from less than 40% of the orchards. Yet some of our smaller orchards are also highly productive, and some of the larger ones not so productive. The highest four year average yield is over 30 tonnes per hectares yet our average is less than 9 t/ha. In a recent survey 40% have been in the industry more than 15 years, 31% between 5 and 15 years and 29% in the industry less than 5 years.

That same survey highlighted that nearly 90% of respondents considered that all 12 areas we asked about, within the scope of NZ Avocado, were important to focus on. These include

  • Supporting adoption of best practice to increase production per hectare
  • New research on productivity
  • Improving fruit quality
  • Reducing compliance costs and cost of production
  • Developing and maintaining NZ, Australian and Asian markets
  • Working together across the supply chain
  • New research
  • Biosecurity

Which makes us feel we are working in the right areas for growers.

Reducing cost of production and reducing cost of compliance were highlighted as areas the industry is not managing well, an answer I suspect many other industries’ might also receive. Good value returns to avocado growers are dependent on being able to export to high value avocado markets around the world.

New Zealand’s avocado growing and export systems are recognised in our export markets for delivering safe, traceable, quality avocados to consumers. These export systems have enabled New Zealand to gain and retain access to high value markets ahead of many competitor supply countries. New Zealand currently benefits from good value returns in markets such as Australia, Thailand and Taiwan where only a small number of other countries are currently have sufficient systems and access to export their avocados.

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