NZ expects record avocado exports during 2016-17 season

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NZ expects record avocado exports during 2016-17 season

The New Zealand avocado industry is set for its largest ever production and export volumes this year, according to an industry head.paltas_72067666

Speaking to, New Zealand Avocado CEO Jen Scoular said the crop looked like it would end up around 7.2 million trays, with 5.2 million due to be exported.

"We have quite significant irregular bearing - we exported 2.5 million last year so we've doubled the amount of fresh avocados we are exporting, but the year before that it was 4.5 million," she said.

Production has also been boosted by good weather during the growing season and producers pruning their trees more.

"As an industry we're doing a lot more pruning of our orchards and we’re now benchmarking orchard performance across all growers, so people are more aware of the potential yields they can get," she said.

"We’ve also got some new clonal rootstocks that we’re using in New Zealand which are proving very positive, but more importantly we’re doing a lot more pruning and that’s making a big difference to our ability to get more consistent and higher productivity."

The rootstocks were imported from various countries around 11 years ago in an effort to fight avocado root rot, which Scoular said was an issue in wet avocado-growing climates.

Rising international demand for avocados had also led to increased plantings in the country.

"We have experienced a significant increase in value across our industry and there’s been a lot more interest in investing in avocado production across New Zealand, so we’re seeing a lot more land being planted," she said.

Scoular highlighted there had been a lot of strategic planning this year due to the large crop, especially in Australia which receives nearly 80% of exports.

"We collect a lot of data from the industry to understand the expected shipping schedule by week, then we consolidate and produce a new expected crop flow," she said.

The representative pointed out consumption was growing rapidly in Australia, where New Zealand shippers compete with Western Australia growers who harvest in the summer, but not with East Coast producers whose season runs during the winter.

Aside from Australia, the industry also ships to a range of Asian markets, with Japan receiving the greatest volumes followed by Singapore, Thailand and South Korea.

New Zealand is also working hard to get access to the Chinese market.

"We have met with the AQSIQ [Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine] officials several times now, and our government is having good discussions with their government and we are hopeful that things are progressing well," Scoular  said.


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