A strong avocado season in New Zealand is expected to bolster Australian supplies during summer, according to peak industry body Avocados Australia.
Chief Executive John Tyas says supply is expected to be steady for the next few months, but as the industry moves into the summer harvest period later this year, it is expected that supply will ease back, as many southern and western producers are carrying fairly light crops this year.
"However, supply from our Central New South Wales region where picking is currently underway is expected to reach 1.6 million trays, a 57 per cent increase on last year," Mr Tyas said. "Obviously, COVID-19 continues to impact on not just the Australian avocado industry, but horticulture and agriculture generally."
Based on the market insight work carried out by companies such as Nielsen and Fiftyfive5, Mr Tyas says is expecting at-home eating to remain popular with Australians, even as restrictions are eased - and for a greater focus on demand for Australian product.
"This is certainly good news for avocados, as currently more than 95% of what we grow is consumed within Australia. We’re certainly keen to continue encouraging Australians to continue to add avocados to their weekly shopping baskets," he said.
Photo courtesy: NZ Avocado (file)
Meanwhile, the 2019-20 avocado season for New Zealand saw avocado export volumes up to 3.8million 5.5kg trays, which is an increase of 26 per cent on the previous season. Countries including Thailand, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan received 35 per cent more volume, meeting the industry’s objective to grow volume to the Asian markets.
New Zealand industry returns for the 2019-20 season are $154million and increase on the previous year of $10million. The New Zealand market sold a record 2.7m trays worth over $50million demonstrating kiwis growing love of the wonderfully healthy avocado.
NZ Avocado says for the first time in a number of years there was no break in avocado supply, as growers held on to one crop while the new crop matured on the trees, which also avoided the spike in pricing that often accompanies the lower supply but increasing demand. Investment into new plantings continued in 2019 with over 120 new avocado properties registered between May 2019 to May 2020.
New Zealand Avocado Growers’ Association Inc. Chair Tony Ponder says New Zealand’s avocado industry is in a position of growth and development.
“The continued investment demonstrates real confidence in the New Zealand avocado industry,” Mr Ponder said. " Many new growers are attracted to the industry because of the strong growth plans within the industry, and the confidence from the collaborative structured approach but also seek to produce a healthy product, while looking after the land."
There are still elements of uncertainty around the export season ahead as the world manages COVID-19. Australia presents a good opportunity for 70-80 per cent of New Zealand’s export volume, with lower domestic production expected in 2020 out of Western Australia. Demand in New Zealand’s eight avocado export markets across Asia looks very good, but freight and import challenges will need to be overcome.
“The new crop for the 2020-21 season is looking very good on the trees, with an expected 10-15 per cent increase in volume. The drought will have put some stress on the trees, so many will have welcomed the recent rain,” NZ Avocado CEO Jen Scoular said.
She added that industries across the Horticulture sector have collaborated to ensure Horticulture plays a key role in New Zealand’s post-COVID-19 recovery. Avocados are a part of this collective and are working with key government departments to deliver an industry-led, government-enabled strategy. Photo: Jen Scoular
“I am excited by the potential of this new level of industry-government collaboration," Ms Scoular said. "This strategy recognises the opportunity to create sustainable value by working together as we grow, transport and market our safe, ethically-produced and healthy food to consumers in New Zealand and around the world. Avocados have 19 vitamins and nutrients, including those necessary for a healthy immune system. An increased focus from consumers on health and wellness has contributed to the growth we have seen in New Zealand avocado consumption.”