NZ expects record avocado exports

Most Read Top Stories
NZ expects record avocado exports

New Zealand may only export a small amount of avocadoes by global standards, but this year growers are forecasting a record crop.

New Zealand's avocado exports look set to rise by more than 34% this season while growers are optimistic about demand in the key markets of Australia, Japan and the U.S.

Primor Produce Limited director John Carroll told crops were looking good, but higher global supply by the time exports start in mid-August could push down prices.

"It’s the largest crop we’ve had in New Zealand and we expect to export around 3.5 million to 4 million trays - normally we export around 2.6 million trays, and they way its transpired is it's a really good fruit size," he says.

"We expect more modest pricing than the last couple of years but I don't think will be a massive oversupply.

"For us our largest export market is Australia and I would expect three quarters of our volumes will go there this year, while the amount going to Japan is likely to be 12% of exports, the U.S. about 5% and the rest to Asian markets which are quite small and need to be developed."

Carroll is not concerned whehter Peru's U.S. access could cause headaches for sales competition.

"As a general rule of thumb, the issue is around preferred fruit sizes and we ship reasonably small and targeted volumes to the U.S. - usually around the end of the larger sizes.

"Our read on Peru is that obviously it will be an issue in the very near future, but I understand their harvest timing will finish and cross over with Chile and Mexico. That's not enough to frighten us away from the U.S. altogether."

He says work still needs to be done in promoting consumption in Asia, where avocadoes are not a staple part of the diet.

"First of all our major vehicle we’ve got in there is the supermarkets that offer a wider range, that are willing to try new things and obviously we’ll contribute to promotional efforts. Once upon a time western-style supermarkets didn’t exist there but now that’s not the case.

"In shipping to Japan there’s not much difference in getting there between us and Mexico. It takes us 14 days to get there so we have an advantage over Chile."

Carroll says dry matter maturity is normal this season, while the weather has been favorable so far.

"Avocadoes are grown on the top half of the north island and we’ve had a really mild – touch wood – good winter this year; we haven’t had any frost or any violent winds like that.

"It’s a good crop and a clean crop, which means packouts can be stronger."

Primor makes up around a third of New Zealand's avocado exports, while a cornerstone stake in the company was recently acquired by post-harveset operator Apata Limited.


Subscribe to our newsletter