AU: Low avocado numbers not a complete surprise according to industry body

Avocados Australia has moved to reassure the public that supplies are on the way back up, after low numbers over the past month.

There have been reports of cafes taking avocados off the menu, and retailers selling the fruit for over $5 a piece - that is if they could source any at all. But the peak industry body's Chief Executive John Tyas says the drop in supply was not completely surprising, as not only is summer the peak consumer demand period, it is also the time when our domestic levels are reduced.

"The commonly tight summer supply period has been exacerbated by the reduced New Zealand crop and the usual logistical issue of moving produce during the Christmas holiday season," he said. "Christmas holidays, the biennial nature of avocado crops and the summer peak consumer demand are all factors that created a tight supply during the recent Christmas/New Year period. Most recently, this has included storms in New Zealand that delayed picking and transport around New Year, adding to the tight supply situation at that point in time."

The bulk of the available supplies are Hass avocados from Western Australia and New Zealand, both of which will reach their end of their season in the coming months.

"Australians are very fortunate to have access to domestic avocados year-round, because our regions stretch from North Queensland to northern Tasmania and from Western Australia through the Tristate and New South Wales to the Sunshine Coast," the Avocados Australia CEO said. "However, each of these regions have a distinct season when their fruit is ready for picking and dispatch at the best quality for consumers."

Western Australia and New Zealand are generally finishing their Hass production between January and March, just in time for the start of the Shepard season in North Queensland from February to April and in Central Queensland in March and April. The Hass season starts again in North and Central Queensland in April, flowing through from there to the Sunshine Coast, South Queensland, Central New South Wales and then the Tamborine/Northern Rivers and then back down to the Tristate and Western Australia by July/August.

"We have already seen increased supplies from both Western Australia and New Zealand. This year was a lower production year for avocados in New Zealand, and fruit dispatch was also disrupted after New Year by some serious storms. While this impacted on the logistics of picking and transport for the New Zealand industry, it did not affect the quality of the fruit."

Mr Tyas says it should only be a matter of weeks, if not days, before consumers can again enjoy a plentiful meal with one of Australia's fastest growing fresh produce items.

"Supplies from both Western Australia and New Zealand were increasing within weeks after New Year, hopefully providing some relief for those keen to see avocado available in their local fruit retailers and cafés," he said.

For more information:
John Tyas
Avocados Australia
Phone: +61 7 3846 6566

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