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Healthy returns in a low crop year for AVOCO growers
21 April 2016

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 later this month.

About 2.5 million 5.5kg trays were exported out of a national crop of about 4 million trays. Over 61% of the industry’s total exports were handled by AVOCO since harvesting got underway at the end of August. A little more than 80 percent of shipments went to Australia while the remainder was sent to mostly Asian markets and marketed through AVANZA.

AVOCO director John Carroll says a financial review of the season began in February after the final shipments were sent to Australia. Final payments will be made to growers in early April.

Grower representatives on the AVOCO Grower Relations Committee, led by chairman Hugh Moore, had discussed the season’s performance and were 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,” Mr Carroll says.

“The demand we see coming 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 two experienced avocado exporters – Team Avocado and Primor. More than 700 growers have supplied AVOCO since its inception in 2013.

The group work with a third exporter to supply fruit under the AVANZA banner to various 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 percent of the fruit from New Zealand. While the lighter national crop forced AVANZA to ship over 100,000 fewer trays than in 2014-15, it was able to maintain a positive presence in the market 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 estimated for 2016-17 is predicted to be 5 million trays plus – at least half a million trays more than the record crop of 4.5 million exported in 2014-15.

AVOCO director Alistair Young says all the AVANZA markets will become an important focus next season as exporters look to shift the huge volume of fruit without overburdening Australia.

“Next season’s big numbers presents us with a new set of challenges but AVOCO and AVANZA demonstrated what it can achieve for growers and the industry during the last ‘big one’ two years ago. We’re looking forward to doing it all again in a few months’ time.”

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