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Coromandel orchardist voices concerns over New Zealand avocado industry

In Coromandel, New Zealand, orchardist Allan Dickinson, who cultivates approximately 600 Hass avocado trees across 7 hectares, has expressed concerns regarding the current state of the avocado industry, citing an oversupply and diminished returns.

Dickinson highlighted the industry's heavy reliance on the Australian market for exports, while noting a lack of marketing efforts to other global regions. He described the situation as a "perfect storm," with domestic retail prices experiencing a significant decrease. The Avocado Growers Association's chief executive, Brad Siebert, acknowledged the challenges of the season, attributing them partly to extreme weather conditions affecting export quantities and leading to domestic market oversupply. Despite these challenges, efforts to diversify export markets have been underway, with exports to the US and Canada marking a shift from the traditional focus on Australia.

Dickinson pointed out the competitive pressures from Australian avocados in international markets, underscoring the need for earlier market cultivation efforts by New Zealand's industry leaders. Siebert mentioned Australia's recent market access to Thailand and India, increasing competition. He also detailed the industry's strategic focus on diversifying markets and leveraging New Zealand's biosecurity measures to maintain access to over 70 countries.

Despite these efforts, Dickinson lamented the regulatory and logistical costs diminishing grower returns, with growers receiving a small fraction of the retail price. The outlook for the 2023/24 season shows a decrease in yield, exacerbating concerns of oversupply. However, Siebert remains optimistic about the industry's new strategies to address these challenges, emphasizing the importance of differentiating New Zealand avocados in the global market through sustainability and food safety credentials.


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