Australia: Avocado oversupply drives prices through the floor, forces farmers to let fruit rot
A pair of Australian avocado farmers on the eastern Sunshine Coast say they have no choice but to watch their fruit die on trees as the country's growers battle with a market oversupply, ABC News reports.
Production has doubled in the past decade as farmers cash in on the nation's appetite for the fruit, leading to smaller growers being priced out of the market.
Wolvi farmers Julie and Tony Pratt have had to make some difficult decisions after making a profit of just 4 cents per avocado on a recent delivery to a major Queensland market.
They say letting their produce rot is now the most economical decision.
"We know you shouldn't do it, [but] we don't have a choice," Pratt was quoted as saying. "We just will pack out for the orders we've got, but you can't send fruit to the market and get nothing for it."
The couple bought their 1,000-tree property four years ago and were anticipating the 2021 Australian avocado season to be their strongest. It has been their worst.
"One dollar an avocado [in the supermarket means] all farms are losing money -- doesn't matter whether you're a small family farm or a corporate farm," Pratt said.
"What really hurts is when you see that fruit not coming from Australia. It makes it pretty hard to get up the next morning and start up irrigation pumps to prepare for the next crop."
In 2016, it was reported that Western Australia's avocado production was set to quadruple in five to eight years amid widespread new plantings.