Michael Fanks - Seeka

“New Zealand avocados always see a good demand in the premium Asian markets"

The New Zealand kiwifruit harvest is over and New Zealand grower and post-harvest company Seeka are now managing the kiwifruit in storage awaiting shipment of the premium quality fruit by marketer Zespri. Seeka successfully completed the acquisition of OPAC during harvest bringing the total combined trays harvested to 43.7m trays. In spite of challenging shipping conditions, Seeka has shipped 27.5m with 16.2m trays to go.

“While it has been a challenging season with severe labour shortages combined with regular weather disruptions, we are reasonably satisfied with where we are at,” said Seeka CEO Michael Franks.

Seeka started the avocado harvest 2 weeks ago and it looks like it may be one of the most challenging seasons so far.

“New Zealand’s biggest avocado export market is Australia, and there is an abundance of good quality fruit on the market, this coincided with an excellent season in New Zealand which has pushed prices down.”

New Zealand normally ships around 80% of the avocado volumes to Australia, but this season growers are looking send more to the Asian markets such as Korea, China, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan.

“New Zealand avocados always see a good demand in the premium Asian markets, but because we usually send the big volumes to Australia, we haven’t been able to fulfil this before.”

Michael said that despite not being able to visit Asian customers or meet at trade fairs they have retained very good contact.

Five years ago, Seeka expanded the business into Australia with orchards in Shepparton, Victoria growing kiwifruit, nashi, pears and plums. The harvest there is done for the season and has gone well in spite of all of the lockdowns and shortage of labour.

“It has been a tough year, with a tough market conditions and extreme labour shortage, but we have managed to continue operating throughout and provide a reliable, quality service to our customers.”

Seeka has continued to export kiwifruit to Germany, the company also grow and market the Rico pear and Nashi pears.

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