Costa’s premium Shepard avocados grown in Far North Queensland will be hitting the supermarket shelves from February, and in a first for the region a shipment of avocados will be sea freighted to Singapore and Hong Kong
Unique to Australia, Shepard avocados love the sub-tropical growing conditions of Far North Queensland and have a limited season, harvested from February to April. This year the Costa farm has had a good growing season and fruit quality is looking great.
“Picking has kicked off and we will be harvesting our delicious, creamy Shepard Lovacados well into April for our consumers to enjoy,” Cormac te Kloot, Costa’s Divisional Manager Avocado and Banana Marketing, said. “We are also sending our first container of avocados from the Atherton Tablelands to Singapore.”
Through the Food Agility CRC, Costa has been working closely with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and Queensland University of Technology on the Improving Avocado Exports project, which is developing data models that identify the lead indicators of avocado robustness at various stages of the supply chain and determine if and when an avocado is suitable for export.
While the shipment to Singapore is a welcome step for export, Queensland growers are also calling on the Federal Government to establish access to the lucrative Japanese export market, to put them on an equal footing with Western Australian growers, who are already exporting to this important market.
“While domestic consumption continues to increase, with Australians now eating on average 3.7kg a year, we also need to establish new export markets for Queensland growers to ensure the industry remains sustainable in the long-term,” Mr te Kloot said.
Over the last decade alone annual Australian avocado production has almost doubled from 46,446 tonnes in 2008/09 to 87,546 tonnes in 2019/2020.
Based on production forecasts developed by Avocados Australia, production is likely to exceed 115,000 tonnes by 2025.
Western Australian avocados have recently been showcased to potential importers, retailers and consumers at a trade vent in Tokyo, but trade restrictions remain in place for Queensland grown avocados due to Qfly.
“We are continuing to call on the Federal Government to provide access to new export markets, particularly Japan,” Mr te Kloot said. “We already enjoy strong and effective trade relations with Japan - allowing Queensland avocados into the Japanese market will only further enhance this strategic bilateral relationship.”
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