The New Zealand avocado industry is vibrant and growing with a vision and strategy in place to quadruple sales to $280m and triple productivity by 2023. The industry is pursuing exciting opportunities in both export and the New Zealand markets, supported by innovation and collaboration with stakeholders and with new partnerships with the Crown and Crown Research Institutes.
New Zealand currently produces just 2% of the global supply but is the ninth largest international avocado exporter. There are over 4,000 hectares of avocado trees planted in New Zealand, primarily in the Bay of Plenty and Northland.
The New Zealand Avocado industry overview
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Avocados are a nutritious and delicious super fruit native to South America. Seed was brought to New Zealand in the early 1900s and since this time the industry has developed to become New Zealand’s third largest fresh fruit export.
The Hass variety of avocado
The avocado is unique in that it is harvested mature, but unripe. In fact, the avocado will not ripen while it is attached to the tree. The age of fruit at maturity ranges from 9-18 months at which point once the fruit are picked they will begin to ripen. In the case of Hass, fruit change from green to black and soften to a creamy texture that makes the avocado ideal for consumption.
Hass is harvested for export from late August through to late March. About 80% of export grade fruit goes to the Australian market with the balance going to Japan, USA and South East Asian markets.
The main growing region for avocado in New Zealand is the Bay of Plenty situated in the North Island. This area is known for its warm climate and fertile soil. Whangarei and the Far North are also favourable growing regions.
The industry consists of 1350 growers who collectively manage over 4000 hectares of mainly the Hass variety of avocados.
A number of packhouses, fruit marketing companies and exporters are involved in the industry to market and sell New Zealand avocados both in New Zealand and overseas.
NZ Avocado Grower’ Association Inc. (NZAGA) is the grower membership organisation that operates to support New Zealand avocado growers’ interests. We do this by promoting the sale and consumption of avocados, managing a research and development programme, and by creating a supportive structure that encourages development and growth within the industry. We also co-ordinate and disseminate relevant industry information and lobby and liaise with Government for the good of our growers.
NZ Avocado Industry Limited is recognised by the Government as representing New Zealand avocados. In that recognition comes the requirement that any exporter who wants to export avocados must be licensed with the NZ Horticulture Export Authority (HEA). We deal with any contractual arrangements necessary for the management of the industry under the NZHEA Act 1987, we implement quality standards, export grade standards and rules and procedures that must be followed by growers, pack houses and exporters. These rules and procedures are all documented in the Avocado Quality Manual and the Avocado Export Marketing Strategy (EMS).
Read more about NZ Avocado on the industry site here