A massive avocado oversupply means Australian farmers are struggling to offload their fruit for a decent price. Sources say several growers have had to dump their crops or risk their produce withering on the tree until demand improves.
Avocado Australia boss John Tyas said this situation was the result of a ‘perfect storm’ of extreme Australian production and the lockdowns that kept the hospitality industry from serving up the fruit.
“About 20 per cent of Australia’s avocados go into the food service sector and when you’ve got restaurants and cafes all shut down, then obviously they’re not they’re not moving any,” Tyas told news.com.au. As a result, the huge crop is piling up, and some farmers are getting just peanuts for a single avocado.
The situation comes after the nation upped its avocado intake in recent years, with people dining out on everything from smashed avocado on toast, to guacamole and avocado ice cream.
Industry group Hort Innovations says Australian avocado production had doubled in a decade as people expand their orchards. In 2020-21 the sector was worth $845 million on a retail basis.
According to Tyas, there were 80,000 tons of avocados produced over the past year – slightly down on the year before – but essentially there was nowhere for them to go.