New Zealand Avocado growers are expecting volumes to be around 25 per cent higher than last season.
NZ Avocado Chief Executive Jen Scoular says the current season is a medium volume season, following on from a low volume season in 2017-18 and a record high volume season in the year prior.
"The season’s total harvest volume is forecast at 5.2million trays (5.5kg), of which 3.6million trays are forecast for export, accounting for around 60 per cent increase on the previous seasons export volumes," she said.
The New Zealand avocado export harvest is now well underway, and demand is expected to be strong across all export markets.
The country's largest supply destination is Australia, while there are priority markets in Asia including: South Korea, Thailand, Japan and Singapore. The industry is also experiencing rapid growth from low base volumes in Taiwan, India and China.
"As an industry we are collectively coming to terms with the requirements for exporting to China – a new market for avocados from New Zealand this season," Ms Scoular said. "Significant increases in volumes to new markets in Asia are a reflection of the increase in demand for avocados from New Zealand in recent seasons, with South Korea in particular showing rapid growth and China taking New Zealand avocados for the first time this season."
NZ exporters gained access to the Chinese market earlier this year, with a trial shipment sent to Shanghai last season, and are looking forward to stepping up volumes this season. Ms Scoular says relationships have been formed in China and the industry will work with them to develop niche markets for NZ avocados.
"New Zealand avocado exporters have collectively identified China as a market of significant opportunity for avocados from New Zealand, with exponential growth in export volumes forecast for the next five years," she said.
Ms Scoular adds the recent New Zealand Avocado International Industry conference in Tauranga was a great success, attracting over 400 growers and industry related delegates to the three-day event.
"The Right Honorable Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, opened the event and discussed industry collaboration as well as the industry growth and desire to continue support across the New Zealand avocado industry," Ms Scoular said. "The event was inspiring and a great opportunity for growers to learn about the conference theme, growing avocados for the world. Key messages discussed during the event included performing on the global stage, technology and innovation, research and extension and sustainability."