Avocado growers supporting AVOCO, New Zealand’s largest export supply group, are expected to be rewarded with strong Orchard Gate Returns after a season which saw their fruit peak at $7 in Australian supermarkets.
Market conditions of high demand and low supply have held up values of New Zealand avocados across the Tasman, which is New Zealand’s largest and highest-paying export market. These high values are expected to be passed down to AVOCO growers when the final OGR is announced.
About 2.5 million 5.5kg trays were exported out of a national crop of about four million trays. More than 61 per cent of the industry’s total exports were handled by AVOCO. A little more than 80 per cent of shipments went to Australia while the remainder was sent to mostly Asian markets and marketed through AVANZA.
AVOCO director John Carroll says final payments will be made to growers in April. Representatives on the AVOCO Grower Relations Committee, led by chairman Hugh Moore, are delighted with the estimated returns.
“It’s fair to say those growers who were able to supply a good size crop for export will be feeling very happy about their season,” says John.
“The demand out of Australia is exceptional. There is a lot of confidence in the industry right now and in the ability of AVOCO to maximise returns to growers through careful flow planning and collaboration.”
AVOCO is made up of Team Avocado and Primor. More than 700 growers have supplied AVOCO since its inception in 2013.
The group works with a third exporter to supply fruit under the AVANZA banner to Asian markets as well as the US. Countries like Japan, Korea, Thailand and Singapore are considered real growth markets for New Zealand due to rising middle-class populations and the value consumers there place on health and nutrition.
This season, AVANZA dominated in Japan, supplying 100 per cent of the fruit from NZ. While the lighter national crop forced AVANZA to ship 100,000 fewer trays than in 2014/2015, it was able to maintain a positive market presence and build on its reputation as a supplier of premium quality avocados.
“This approach ensures that New Zealand avocados stay top of mind for consumers and that in more productive seasons – like the one expected next year – the Japan market will welcome even more fruit.”
The export crop for 2016/2017 is predicted to be five million trays-plus – at least half a million trays more than the record crop of 4.5 million in 2014/2015.
AVOCO director Alistair Young says the AVANZA markets will be important next season as exporters look to shift the huge volume of fruit without overburdening Australia.
“Next season presents us with a new set of challenges but AVOCO and AVANZA demonstrated what it can achieve during the last ‘big one’ two years ago. We’re looking forward to doing it all again thi season.