New Zealand avocado surplus driving down prices

New Zealand avocado surplus driving down prices

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New Zealand avocado surplus driving down prices

New Zealand has an overabundance of avocados right now that is driving prices down more than usual for this time of year.

Over 506,000 tray equivalents (5.5kg) were harvested for New Zealand in July 2021 compared to 312,000 trays during the same period in 2020, according to SunLive.

This year's bumper crop is good news for consumers, but it is turning out to be a bit more complicated for the country's 1,600 avocado growers.

The sheer number of avocados being harvested from their trees has driven down prices, meaning lower returns and growers receiving less money for their fruit.

Similar avocado-growing success in Australia is expected to have a negative impact on returns for exports from New Zealand.

Along with the surplus are the continued disruptions of global sea and air freight, leaving the country to prepare for a challenging export season.

"The returns this year aren't looking as good as the last few years, but we're hopeful that it will just be a short-term effect," Daniel Birnie, an avocado grower in the Bay of Plenty told Sun Live.

However, Birnie said the low supermarket prices are good for consumers and there is an opportunity in that.

“There are heaps of good avocados out there on the market, so hopefully it will bring some more people into eating avocados when they’re relatively cheap and more people can buy them.”

Jen Scoular, chief executive of NZ Avocado, said all avocados sold in New Zealand are grown in New Zealand and weekly harvest volumes throughout July have been very high.

Production volumes are increasing from a number of new large plantings around New Zealand and these newer plantings tend to mature earlier in the season.

Last year was a record New Zealand avocado season in terms of export volume and total crop volume.

There were 44,000 metric tons of avocados harvested in 2020, with 5.1 million trays exported to 11 export markets, an increase of 10 percent year on year. A similar result is forecast for the 2021 season.

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