January 2022 update

By Jen Scoular

The wonderful summer weather in New Zealand over the festive season certainly allowed many to take a break, and reflect on what was to most of those in horticulture, a very tough year last year. However, fruit and vegetables never sleep therefore many were also working over the break. We certainly appreciate the effort growers, packers, marketers and stakeholders in the avocado industry continue to put in, as sales of avocados to those on their breaks having long lunches and barbeques, keeps the demand ticking along.

Consumers in New Zealand are still enjoying great value avocados through retail, as good supply volumes continue into most markets. The majority of shipments into Asia are coming to a close, although airfreight will continue for another few weeks. The situation in Australia continues to cause issues, with so many impacted by COVID-19 which is hampering supply chains and distribution centres even further.

On a positive note, our exporters have trebled the volume they have shipped and sold in Asia this year. From 555k trays in 2020-21 to over 1.5m in 2021-22, from less than 20% of export volumes last season and to nearly 40% of exports this season.

The industry has a five year plan to significantly increase volumes into Asia, which we certainly achieved against this season. But no-one could have anticipated the underlying reasons for achieving that goal. All power to avocado exporters, shippers and importers for the work done to develop those market channels and move New Zealand avocados in far bigger volumes into eight Asian markets this season.

Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand and China will receive the largest share across Asia of New Zealand’s avocados, with volumes also marketed into Taiwan, Singapore, India, Malaysia and Japan. The Australian market ran hot last season, but this season it over supplied itself with Australian grown avocados, and never recovered the value. Supply chain issues, no food service during lockdowns and now COVID-19 impacting workers have all seriously dampened demand and value in Australia.

But let’s talk upbeat and share that the tempo at this year’s Katikati Avocado Food and Wine festival was wonderfully heightened with the appearance of Dave Dobbin on a perfect blue sky day. Festival goers enjoyed delicious avocado treats, a wide range of craft beers and wines and music to swing along to. Perhaps we all need to make sure we add some music and dance to get through these tough times.

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