July 2020 Blog
By Jen Scoular
Industry returns for the 2019-20 season will again exceed $150m, with excellent returns on the New Zealand market and solid returns from export markets. Record volumes of avocados were sold in New Zealand, demonstrating kiwis love of the wonderfully healthy avocado. New Zealand doesn’t import avocados and all fresh avocados available are grown here, so it’s a great buy-local story. Avocados have 19 vitamins and nutrients, including those necessary for a healthy immune system, another fantastic attribute of our locally grown avocado.
Kiwis are also very keen to become part of the avocado industry with over 120 new properties registered as avocado orchards from May 2019 to May 2020. We had a great online zoom session with over 70 “new growers” over lockdown. Many new growers are looking for an economic return from avocados but some also seek a great lifestyle, producing a healthy product, while looking after the land. That ties in very well with a focus on sustainability, and understanding the impact of avocados on the environment. We strive to minimise impact, with programmes like our AvoGreen, responsibly grown avocados. Growers are not allowed to apply sprays unless they have monitored their crop and found pests, and we advocate much more targeted sprays, softer on the environment.
The new crop is looking very good on the trees, with an expected 10-15% increase in volume. The drought will have put some stress on the trees, so many will have welcomed the recent rain, though not any wind that might have come with it.
The export season ahead will be uncertain, as the world manages COVID-19, but with a lower production expected out of Western Australia, NZ’s biggest competitor in the valuable Australian market, the Australian market should offer good opportunity for much of our export volume. New Zealand exports avocados to eight markets in Asia, where consumer demand for avocados is currently strong, but freight and import challenges will need to be overcome.
The avocado industry AGM will be in Whangarei on 27 August, with an avocado growers’ forum the following day. We encourage our Bay of Plenty growers to take the scenic route up to Northland and join us there.