AU: Regional avocado growers a key part of national industry growth

Regional avocado growers across Australia have heard the strong industry growth is set to continue throughout this year, at a series of information sessions.

It comes as Australian avocado seasons recently switched from Shepard to Hass varieties, with supplies forecast to be strong through until June at least.

"Now is a great time to be an avocado consumer," Avocados Australia CEO John Tyas said. "Not only will there be plenty of quality fruit in the market, some of our regions are going to be delivering larger fruit, with sizing up due to more rain in the growing season and an earlier maturity. Consumers can look forward to not just a good supply of fruit, but a good supply of larger fruit."

Photo: Avocados Australia CEO John Tyas speaking at the WA Meeting.

The third regional meeting was held in Western Australia on Tuesday, with researchers are sharing the information and resources they have just published, as part of Hort Innovation-funded projects, to help improve avocado handling in the supply chain. Mr Tyas says the goal is to further improve the quality, and the consistency of quality, that our consumers experience when they purchase an Australian avocado.

"The Australian avocado industry has grown in leaps and bounds in the past 12 years, doubling demand for our fruit - however, we cannot stop now,” he said. “We’re holding a series of regional meetings across many of our growing regions to share updates on the current state of play in the industry, from domestic demand, to potential export markets and also what’s happening with suppliers globally."

Western Australia currently has 20 per cent of the avocado hectares in Australia, and 28 per cent of the hectares planted nationally since 2016.

"In terms of varieties, Western Australia has the highest proportion of Hass, with 99 per cent of hectares planted to the Hass variety," Mr Tyas said. "Avocado plantings are increasing across the country as the industry gears up to meet the increasing domestic demand."

Photo: Dr Jenny Ekman and Adam Goldwater from Applied Horticultural Research with Alec McCarthy, WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development

Mr Tyas adds demand has grown to 3.5 kilograms per person/year and there is a commitment from growers to continue to improve quality and secure new markets.

"While one-third of Australia’s avocado trees have yet to reach their prime production years, enough of the new plantings are coming on line this year to boost supplies," Mr Tyas said. "At the moment, North Queensland is supplying about 52 per cent of the fruit, followed by Central Queensland at 43 per cent and South Queensland 5 per cent. We’re predicting well above average supplies each week from now until the end of May. The vast majority of this fruit is Hass, as the Shepard season in North and Central Queensland continues to wind down."

One of the drivers of the increase in growth and demand has been put down to a number of marketing initiatives, such as the launch of the nation’s first avocado pop up café last year - as well as an innovative $2.4 million campaign that has just launched. The idea, ‘Avocados make everything better - Smash an Avo’, is inspired by everyday vernacular and the fact that avocados are so incredibly versatile and nutritious.

Photo: WA avocado industry members Steve Russell, Sophie Cremasco and Josh Franceschi.

Avocados Australia say it is brought to life in video with a quirky series of visuals that not only show how Australian Avocados make any meal better, but also how they make us feel good, with the help of topical satire. The plan is for people to see and hear about avocados everywhere – on Spotify, websites, YouTube, on digital screens at shopping centres.

"We are seeing a lot of quality product hit the market right now, and Australian consumers are enjoying more avocados than ever with consumption rates more than doubling from 40,000 tonnes in 2007 to almost 90,000 tonnes today,” Mr Tyas said. “All of this has not happened through luck. As an industry, we have invested levy dollars into a range of marketing activities through Hort Innovation over many years. We also have 850-odd growers out there working tirelessly on farms each day to bring consumers quality fruit, supported by a lot of research and development to make our products the best they can be."

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

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