Dutch group Levarht to co-invest in "biggest" NZ avocado orchard
Dutch company Levarht has been given the green light to co-invest in what is reported to be New Zealand's largest proposed avocado orchard, according to local media Stuff.
Harbour Edge Avocados, which is 50% owned by capsicum grower Southern Paprika, applied to the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) to buy a 405-hectare dairy farm in the Kaipara District for NZS$8 million (US$5.8 million), where it intends to plant the orchard.
Because Southern Paprika is half owned by Dutch company Levarht, the sale had to be approved by the OIO, the publication reported.
Avocados New Zealand chief executive Jen Scoular was quoted as saying it was proof of the "huge interest" in avocado growing, adding that "once it is fully planted it will be the biggest orchard in the country."
Around 100,000 trees are due to be planted, which will produce 5,000 metric tons (MT) of avocados annually. Approximately 90% of production is earmarked for export.
The avocados will be marketed under the name Harbour Edge Avocados and will be packed at the Southern Paprika site in Warkworth.
Scoular predicted the 2016-17 export crop would be the largest ever, at 5.2 million trays out of a total of about 7.2 million trays grown.
Avocados are one of New Zealand's most valuable horticultural exports. The Ministry for Primary Industries predicts export returns for 2017 to increase more than 80% to a record NZD$149 million (US$108 million).