Avocado and kiwifruit industry representatives say recent storms have caused severe damage but it appears to be localised and unlikely to affect the overall national crop.
Sales increased by $64 million over the last season and $62 million higher than the previous record of $136 million set in 2013-14. Volume too was a record 7.7 million trays in the 2016-17 season - an 84% increase on last season.
The season saw significant increases in demand across all markets, with Australia remaining the industry’s largest market with an almost insatiable consumer demand. Over 70% of New Zealand avocados are exported with the remaining avocados sold in New Zealand. New Zealanders too are finding more and tastier ways to use avocados, and starting to add them regularly to their shopping basket.
Jen Scoular, chief executive of NZ Avocado, says the industry’s Primary Growth Partnership programme: ‘NZ Avocados Go Global’, has provided a major boost to the sector.
“We are part of an industry that has gone from $70 million in value in 2013 to an impressive $200 million in 2017. The Go Global programme gave us the platform as an industry to develop a strategy with audacious goals of quadrupling sales and trebling productivity in ten years. That strategy, and Crown investment has been implemented and resulted in fantastic growth in value right across the supply chain” says Scoular.
The independent review of the NZ Avocados Go Global programme said the five-year programme had made a major contribution to the New Zealand avocado industry.
“The review noted that we’ve achieved a step change in the way the industry operates and it’s now a much more trusting, collaborative, cohesive, communicative and co-ordinated industry, with a correspondingly greater public profile,” says Scoular.
Alistair Petrie, chair of the Avocado Exporter Council noted a superb increase in demand that was matched by excellent planning and supply from harvest through to delivery to customers in market. “Versatility, health benefits and the amazing taste of avocados are the key drivers for that demand.”
Ashby Whitehead, chair of NZ Avocado, says the industry is in the best state it has been for many years.
“With the huge increase in value from avocados and much higher visibility of the global opportunities, we are seeing strong growth throughout the industry. Demand for new trees has resulted in a near trebling of production at nurseries, large commercial investors in Northland are converting dairy farms to avocado orchards and smaller orchards are maximising the productivity of their orchards. Growers will be very happy with their returns and are looking at further investment. It’s a very exciting time to be in the New Zealand avocado industry.”