Chaos in the shipping industry has contributed to avocado exports dropping off in the past year, which is a problem for growers, but is not so bad for local avocado lovers. According to the latest data from the Ministry for Primary Industries, export revenue for the avocado industry was down 61% year-on-year. Besides what New Zealand Avocado chief executive Jen Scoular described as chaotic delays in shipping, a glut of the fruit in Australia also contributed.
Prices there hit a 15-year low of $1 for a single fruit, making exporting from New Zealand uneconomic. Normally our biggest avocado market, exports across the Tasman fell 76% year on year. About 10% of the intended export crop ended up being sold domestically.
One consequence of that problem was that the usual practice of staggering deliveries so avocados arrived at different times were up-ended. Deliveries arrived in export markets all at once, leading to an over-supply into supermarkets and resulting wastage, as well as fruit that was nearing its sell-by date and faced become unsellable.