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Top grower backing AVOCO
11 June 2015

Award-winning Te Puke grower Robbie Moore is lending his support to a campaign aimed at increasing AVOCO’s slice of the export pie.

New Zealand’s largest avocado export company currently serves the needs of more than 700 growers – most of who live in the Bay of Plenty. During 2014-15, AVOCO exported 2.8 million trays, accounting for about 63% of the industry’s total exports.

It’s launched a campaign to recruit more growers off the back of healthy Orchard Gate Returns, with Bay of Plenty orchardists receiving more than $15 a tray on an all size average for export fruit.

These returns bucked the trend for growers who have historically received much lower tray prices during years of heavy volume. Mr Moore, who last year was named AVOCO Grower of the Year, said it was a “no brainer” to support the export leader as it looked to increase its market share.

“The industry was on shaky ground a few years back, especially when growers were getting tray prices of $10 or less. Virtually all our fruit was going to Aussie in one big hit and that messed things up for everyone. 

“But now, with AVOCO on the scene, we’re looking after Australia a whole lot better and  we’re exporting our fruit into new markets overseas where consumers can’t get enough of what we’re producing.”

He says the future of the industry is finally in good shape and he’s encouraging other growers to support AVOCO.

“You get the best of both worlds – a secure future and decent values for your crop.”

Robbie and his wife Julene have expanded their avocado orchard on Gridley Rd, planting a new clonal variety of Hass avocados under the last remaining hectare of kiwifruit they have left on their main orchard. They expect those young trees to be in full production in another five years, with their kiwifruit operation shifting to another block.

This past season, they picked about 220 bins of avocados – equating to 8500 export trays. Next season they’re expecting to export 300 bins off a larger crop. “We’re getting a more even export crop every year now. Across the whole orchard, one half will have its ‘on’ year while the other half will be ‘down’ but back up again the following season.”

2014-15 was a record production year for the New Zealand avocado industry. Out of a national crop of over 7 million trays, about 4.5 million trays were exported.

AVOCO director John Carroll said the formation of AVOCO in 2013 brought about a sea change in the fortunes of avocado growers and the wider industry.

“As a major contributor to AVANZA, we’re committed to developing export markets outside Australia for the future growth of the industry. But we also ensure our growers continue to receive strong returns. By supporting AVOCO, growers don’t have to compromise.”

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