The New Zealand avocado industry has grown from a high of $68m in 2011 to a forecast of over $200m in 2020. Almost 44,000 tonnes of avocados were harvested this season, with 4.9 million trays exported. Sales in the New Zealand market will top 2.5 million trays.
New Zealand has over 4,000 hectares of avocado trees in production with a further 1,000 hectares recently planted now beginning to come into production.
Avocado supply to the New Zealand market runs year-round and exports begin in July, with the main export season running from September to February.
New Zealand avocados are exported to 11 export markets including Australia, Thailand, China, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan and India.
“An increased global focus on health and keeping well has resulted in great opportunity for New Zealand to supply our natural, highly nutritious avocados to consumers. The New Zealand avocado industry is vibrant and growing and on track to achieve its vision to quadruple sales to $280m and triple productivity by 2023, and has a long term strategy to become a billion dollar industry by 2040,” explains Jen Scoular, CEO NZ Avocado.
There are over 4,000 hectares of avocado trees planted in New Zealand – 54% of avocado production came from the Bay of Plenty in 2020 with 39% coming out of the Northland. The remaining avocado production came from South Auckland, the Coromandel and Gisborne.
New Zealand is anticipating a near-record crop volume for the 2021 season, with hundreds of hectares of new plantings coming further into production and a good crop currently hanging on the trees. Although it has been dry in some regions for extended periods, the growing season has provided more consistent rainfall than the previous season, which is encouraging for tree health and fruit size.
Scoular says: “Early indications show a good volume of good sized avocados on healthy trees. We anticipate a total crop volume similar to the season just ended, however the total crop and export packout can still be impacted by environmental factors between now and the end of the export season.”
New Zealand has recently completed the 2020 avocado season, which produced the highest volume in four years, with volumes for export up 10% on the previous season.
“Demand for avocados from New Zealand has been strong in our largest export markets Australia, Thailand and Taiwan. New Zealand avocado volumes to Australia are up 45% on the previous season, with a combination of a short Australian domestic supply and good New Zealand export packouts contributing to the increase. Volumes are down slightly in New Zealand’s top Asian markets Thailand and Taiwan, and down quite considerably in Korea and China, where sea and air freight disruption impacted on New Zealand exports.”
The NZ avocado industry worked collaboratively to gain market access and to start exporting to China in 2018 and India in 2013. These are the newest markets for avocados from New Zealand.
Did you know?
New Zealand was voted by global avocado growers as the next country to host the World Avocado Congress to showcase the global avocado industry in 2023. April 2023 has been identified as a likely time to host the event and a committee of world avocado leaders is being formed to steer the event preparation and decide upon the theme and focus of the congress.