Avocado

New Zealand - Spotlight on quality avocado to Australia

Jen Scoular:

Normally there is a collective sigh of relief as NZ finishes an avocado export season but this year it's a different story. They experienced significant quality issues post-November, especially for their avocados going into the Australian market.

NZ harvests avocados five months of the year for export markets, and aim to harvest just in time to be cooled and packed, loaded on to the appropriate vessel, arrive in Australia to be cleared, trucked to the distribution centre or wholesale market and be available to customer orders.

Avocados are unlike kiwifruit and apples where they are all harvested at once, then coolstored until the market is ready. The tree is the coolstore, and post-harvest needs to be as speedy as possible.

Another challenge is that the New Zealand growing season is cooler and wetter than growing seasons in Western Australia, Chile, Peru and Mexico — who are NZ competitors.

 Source: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/the-country/news/article.cfm?c_id=16&objectid=12210443 

Plant Biosecurity Advice 2019-P03 - Release of the draft report for the review of biosecurity import requirements for fresh avocado fruit from Chile

28 February 2019

This Biosecurity Advice notifies stakeholders of the release of the draft report for the review of biosecurity import requirements for fresh avocado fruit from Chile.

The draft report proposes that importation of fresh avocado fruit from all commercial production areas of Chile be permitted, subject to a range of biosecurity requirements.

The department has now published the draft report for a 60 calendar day public consultation period, closing on 29 April 2019.

Stakeholders are invited to have their say on the draft report. The department will consider all stakeholder comments received during the consultation period in preparing a final report.

The department announced the commencement of this risk analysis on 23 March 2018, via Biosecurity Advice 2018-05, advising it would be progressed as a review of biosecurity import requirements.

The draft report identifies seven quarantine pests associated with fresh avocado fruit from Chile that require risk management measures to reduce the biosecurity risk to an acceptable level. The quarantine pests identified are:

  • Fruit flies: Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata)
  • Mealybugs: grape mealybug (Pseudococcus maritimus)
  • Thrips: Chilean flower thrips (Frankliniella australis), tamarugo thrips (Frankliniella gemina) and western flower thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis)
  • Mites: avocado brown mite (Oligonychus punicae) and avocado red mite (Oligonychus yothersi).

 

  • The draft report proposes risk management measures, in combination with operational systems, to reduce the risks posed by the seven quarantine pests so as to achieve the appropriate level of protection for Australia. These measures include:
  • area freedom, fruit treatment (such as cold disinfestation treatment) or hard condition of fruit (for the Hass cultivar only) for Mediterranean fruit fly
  • consignment freedom verified by pre-export visual inspection and, if detected, remedial action for grape mealybug, Oligonychus spider mites and thrips
  • The draft report and more information about this risk analysis are available on the department’s website. Printed copies of the report are available on request.

The department invites stakeholders interested in receiving information and updates on biosecurity risk analyses to subscribe via the department’s online subscription service. By subscribing to Biosecurity Risk Analysis Plant, you will receive Biosecurity Advices and other notifications relating to plant biosecurity policy, including this risk analysis.

Dr Marion Healy
First Assistant Secretary
Biosecurity Plant Division

Source: http://www.agriculture.gov.au/biosecurity 

 

Costa announces half-yearly results

Firm reports lower profit number than expected but remains on target for medium to long term growth

Following reports of lower than expected sales ahead of Christmas, Costa Group has announced detail of its performance in the six months to 30 December 2018.

Costa CEO, Harry Debney said the results were anticipated to be considerably lower because of the muted trading performance during December.

“The six-month financial period to December has delivered a lower profit number than expected. There were several contributing factors to this, some of which had been accounted for including bringing African Blue on to our balance sheet as a result of majority ownership, additional preharvest farming cost investment through our increased international footprint and an ‘off’ citrus season in terms of the biennial nature of the crop,” said Debney.

The company said it remains on track to meet medium to long term profit growth objectives, which incorporate its five core product categories as well as international development.

Revenue decreased in the produce segment by 4.3 per cent compared with the six months prior, and total transacted sales were at A$615.7m compared with A$620.3m in the first half of 2018.

Citrus

The biennial nature of citrus is said to have caused the 4.3 per cent dip in revenue for Costa’s produce department. Lower quality toward the tail end of the season was also to blame.

“Exports for the 2018 calendar season comprised 73 per cent of packed volume, with Japan being the largest market taking 40 per cent of total exports, followed by the US, New Zealand and China,” said Debney. “Exposure to the Korean market is expected to increase in 2019 as tariffs are further reduced under the Australia – Korea Free Trade Agreement.”

Avocados

Costa’s avocados also journeyed to Asia this year for the first season. The company said 60,000 trays of exports were initiated to markets in South East Asia, including Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.

Domestic crop was mainly sourced from northern New South Wales, with some residual volume coming from Queensland. Central Queensland’s overlap with the end of Western Australia’s season resulted in a supply glut that lowered prices.

Berries

Strong production volumes for blueberries were also apparent at Costa’s Corindi farm in New South Wales but were offset by lower volumes from Queensland.

A new Arana premium variety attracted a 23 per cent premium on 200g packs at retail level and a double-digit premium at wholesale.

The company said raspberry contribution was disappointing.

Internationally, earnings from Costa’s Morocco, China and Americas-based operations are weighted to the first half of 2018, the company said.

Pre-harvest investment in Morocco and China through July-December decreased earnings which occur during the harvest period in the first half of the year.

“There has been a good early start to the blueberry harvest at the main Manlai farm with positive market reception reflected in premium pricing received for our large ‘jumbo’ berries,” said Debney.

The company said Driscoll’s US-based royalties produced continued revenue growth.

Tomato

Tomatoes also experienced an undesirable result with an excellent production of snacking varieties being met by weaker retail performance, resulting in more sales across the wholesale channel lowering price realisation. Truss production and pricing was also lower.

Costa will be showcasing a new truss variety in 2019 called Endeavour, which it said features enhanced yield, shelf life and disease resistance.

Mushroom

Mushrooms bucked the fluctuation trend and met financial targets for the period.

The recent higher cost of straw is expected to manifest over 2019 as Costa replenishes inventory stock. A new compost facility is also expected to have a positive impact and will operate from the fourth quarter of 2019.

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com/asiafruit

Author: Camellia Aebischer

China and the great international avocado takeover

The avocado is spreading to every corner of the world. It is difficult to know why the avocado is catching on globally. It may be the influence of the US culinary culture. It could be a result of marketing efforts. It might also just be that in the age of globalization, the most delicious foods will inevitably find their way into the mouths of discerning eaters no matter where they are.

The avocado boom is decades-long in the US. But since 2015, growth in avocado imports to the US have slowed. The rest of the world picked up the slack. For example, imports to China grew from just 154 tons in 2012 to over 31,000 tons in 2017. Data from the first quarter of 2018 suggests the growth continued. Other countries that have seen similar spikes in recent years include Saudi Arabia, Ireland and South Korea.


Read the rest of the article : https://www.freshplaza.com/article/9066889/china-and-the-great-international-avocado-takeover/

First Australian avocados land in Japan

Australia’s first-ever avocado exports to Japan have recently arrived in the Asian country, receiving a ceremonious launch at the Australian embassy in Tokyo on Tuesday.

Government officials from both sides were in attendance, along with Japanese importers and retailers as well as industry representatives from Hort Innovation and Avocados Australia.

A new protocol signed in May allows the export of Australian Hass avocados grown in Queensland fruit fly-free areas to Japan.

Avocados Australia CEO John Tyas said the new trade agreement was “very exciting news for the Australian avocado industry”, and acknowledged the cumulative hard work by all agencies involved in making the trade agreement possible.

“It is very exciting for the industry that we can now add Japan to our exclusive list of export destinations for our top-quality premium Hass avocados,” he said.

“The industry in Australia is growing rapidly and we are very confident that Australia will be producing about 115,000 tonnes of avocados per year by 2025. This is 50 per cent more than our current production, and expanding our domestic and international markets is essential.”

Hort Innovation CEO Matt Brand said Australia has built a solid reputation for its premium quality fresh fruit and vegetables.

“Table grapes and citrus fruits are already established export products in the Japanese market and their market success has demonstrated a willingness by consumers to pay a premium price for high-quality produce,” he said.

“Japan is wholly dependent on avocado imports for their national supply. Until now, their avocados were predominantly sourced from Mexico and to a lesser extent, Peru, the US and New Zealand.”

He added that introducing Australian avocados into the marketplace offers Japanese consumers “a point of difference to their current supply” and will strengthen trade ties with local exporters.

“We are confident that this new market access opportunity will enhance trade relations with Japan, and in time, open up market access for other premium fresh fruit and vegetable items,” he said.

 

Source: https://www.freshfruitportal.com 

Australian avocado production grows

In the past decade production of avocados has nearly doubled, projected to 115,000 tonnes by 2025
At 77,000 tonnes in 2017/18 the Australian avocado industry is on a long term upward trajectory.

“One-third of Australia’s avocado trees have yet to reach their prime production years but enough of the new plantings have come on line this year to boost the industry above last year’s 66,000 tonnes,” said Avocados Australia CEO, John Tyas.

Tyas says by 2025 the industry is on track to produce around 115,000 tonnes annually.

“Our production in 2017/18 was 17 per cent more than the previous year, with a gross value of production estimated at A$557 million.”

Domestic consumption has held steady for a second year in a row at 3.5kg per person, per year, but Tyas is confident there is more room for growth.

Most of the Australian supply is grown in Queensland, who host 62 per cent of plantings, second to Western Australia at 25 per cent, followed by New South Wales, Victoria and Australia.

“In 2017/18 Hass represented 78 per cent of production. Shepard, a green-skin variety grown in Queensland through late Summer and Autumn, made up 19 per cent of production, and at that time of year, is the dominant Australian variety on the market.”

To help balance supply and demand in future, Avocados Australia is working with Hort Innovation to expand both domestic and international markets. “At the moment we export less than five per cent of our production annually, but that will increase as our production increases,” Tyas said.

Currently Malaysia and Singapore are the main export markets for Australian avocados.

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com Author: Camellia Aebischer

Mexican avocado producers seek to export to Australia and New Zealand

The Broad and Progressive Agreement of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), also known as the TPP-11, has allowed Mexican avocado producers to set their sights on the markets of Australia and New Zealand.

The two countries are important avocado producers in that region, but they have a very marked seasonal crop and, therefore, are complementary markets, said Ramon Paz Vega, the strategic adviser of the Association of Producers and Packers Exporters of Avocado in Mexico (APEAM).

Given this situation, and coupled with the growing demand in both nations, Mexico could take advantage of this opportunity and export its avocados to these markets when they lack local production, Paz Vega stated in an interview with Notimex.

Even though its difficult to enter these two markets because of the strict phytosanitary measures they have, Mexico has already started some negotiations in order to enter them.

For the moment, Mexico will continue exporting its avocados to Japan, where 95 percent of the avocado is imported from Mexico, which doesn't have any tariffs or any other barrier for this product there, he said.

Singapore is also an attractive market for Mexican avocados and producers expect to send at least four thousand tons of avocados there at the end of the harvest season, i.e. on June 30, he said.

Paz Vega also said this year's production would amount to just over two million tons, i.e. 10 percent more than the previous year. 835 thousand tons of the production will be sent to the United States, the main export market of the Mexican product.

The CPTPP represents a market of 372 million potential consumers and representatives of the 11 countries of the Asia-Pacific region - Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam - signed the agreement on March 8.

This established the largest free trade area in the world, with modern disciplines that meet the challenges of 21st century economies.

According to the Ministry of Economy (SE), Mexico will obtain significant and immediate access to 90 percent of the block's market. This will allow it to diversify its economy by opening preferential access to six new markets -Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam - and deepen its access to the Japanese agricultural market.


Source: Notimex via www.freshplaza.com 

Publication date: 6/6/2018

WA Avocado growers looking forward to developing market in Japan

A Western Australian avocado packer has welcomed new market access to Japan, saying it will be needed to help ensure growers get a good price for their produce into the future.

Last week, the Australian government reached a new protocol agreement for Hass avocados with Japan, and will be calling for applications for accreditation for growers in the coming weeks. Managing Director of Karri Country Produce, Jennie Franceschi, says at the current rate of industry expansion producers will need new markets like this to develop, with a major increase in volume forecast for coming years.

"It's a positive step as there are a lot of trees in the ground and production in Australia is going to be increasing significantly," she said. "So the figures I have been given by industry, there are 30 per cent of trees not producing and 20 per cent of trees that are producing, but not in full production. So that means half the trees in the ground are either not producing or under producing. I always think it's important to have many market distribution channels."

She praised the Australian Government for getting this access, saying the more supply channels available means more diversity and therefore more stability. Ms Franceschi adds that prices are "not exciting" for growers at the moment due to the amount of fruit on the market.

"The industry as a whole is under a bit of pressure at the moment," Ms Franceschi said. "We haven't seen these sort of returns in around five years. I think it's just getting people to eat them. There have been some very good sales, but it just hasn't encouraged more people to buy. So it's not really price, and I am not sure why people are not buying. There are good volumes around and very good quality. So, if you look at the current pricing in Australia, we will be very effective up there (in Japan)."

Initially the opportunity will only be available to fruit fly free areas, such as Western Australia, Riverland (South Australia) and Tasmania, and Ms Franceschi admits there may not be huge number of volumes at first, as growers get an understanding of the market.

"I don't think there will be huge quantities, but I will definitely be putting some fruit up there," she said. "Just to understand the lay of the land, as I think that's important to do that and learn. I have worked with the Japanese lately and I have found them to be honourable. They are hard, like you've got to go through a process, but they are very honourable. So I think it's very promising."

Among Australia's advantages is the proximity to Asia, meaning the fruit can get to market fairly quickly as well as Australia's clean and green image. This has put the produce high on the list for many Asian countries, according to Ms Franceschi, who conducted her own taste testing while recently in Malaysia.

"They had some fruit from other countries, as well as fruit from Australia - not Western Australian, but East Coast fruit," Ms Franceschi said. "We bought some from other countries, because we wanted to understand why our fruit was retailing for more, which was quite a premium over these other countries. I wanted to see if there was a legitimate reason for this. But when we cut the fruit there wasn't a very good seed in one, and the flavour wasn't the same. So everyone who tried it, all picked the Aussie avocado as being of a superior flavour and there was also more flesh."

The Hass season is underway in the east but the west is still a few months away. The last estimates put the Western Australian crop at a similar level as last season, but with winter to get through, those numbers are expected to firm up at a later date.

For more information:
Jennie Franceschi
Karri Country Produce
Phone: +61 8 9777 2246
Publication date: 5/31/2018
Author: Matthew Russell
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com

Australian Hass to Japan approved for access

Hass avocados from Australia can now be officially exported to Japan from fruitfly-free regions
On May 23, Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources officially declared export access to Japan for Hass avocados.

The avocados must be grown in specific zones, meet the “hard mature” condition, and be sent from Department of Agriculture accredited packhouses and growers.

The source regions are strictly limited to officially recognised areas free from Queensland fruit fly: Western Australia, Riverland (South Australia) and Tasmania.

The Department of Agriculture confirmed with Asiafruit that there is no cold treatment protocol as part of the access.

In the coming weeks the department will release an official call for applications for accreditation.

 

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com/asiafruit

Author: Camellia Aebischer

Australian import industry squeezed

Government changes to pre-clearance inspections are having harsh effects on Australian importers.

The Overseas Pre-clearance Inspection (OPI) scheme, offered through Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) since 2001, is about to disappear.

The government department made a decision to eliminate the program in 2016 meaning importers will have to inspect and clear fruit for arrival onshore in Australia.

Previously, Australia appointed inspectors who travel to selected ports overseas to pre-clear produce as it meets phytosanitary approvals. Now, the number of inspectors is being reduced and moved back home.

A spokesperson from the DAWR told Asiafruit that the program is being phased out because on-arrival inspection provides greater opportunities for the DAWR to drive compliance and better allocate resources according to biosecurity risk.

Industry representatives are not convinced.

A member of the Australian Horticultural Exporters and Importers Association (AHEIA) told Asiafruit that wait times for onshore clearance are sitting at around 7 or 8 days, adding an extra week to their pre-order schedule.

“The retailers don’t want to hear ‘I’m sorry but we can’t get an inspection for your program,’” they said.

Industry sources told Asiafruit that Australia’s import sector is not only concerned about their business and relationships, but the flow-on effect for export deals.

“We know that in the past several of our neighbours have used non-phytosanitary issues to restrict fruit imports,” said Neil Barker, CEO at BGP International. “When they see how effective the DAWR protectionist policy has been I have no doubt they will consider adopting the policy. If an Australian grape shipment to Jakarta airport regularly spent seven days in the cargo terminal waiting for an inspection my guess is that the trade would stop.”

Dominic Jenkin, CEO of the AHEIA explained that when inspectors are placed overseas they’re able to approve produce more efficiently as multiple orders might be stationed in a single location at a major port; last year the programme operated across 75,000 tonnes of fresh fruit imports from New Zealand and the US.

The program was offered to a handful of countries, which has dwindled over the years. Currently availability is only for the USA and New Zealand on selected fruit and veg.

The DAWR said that the removal of OPI does not impact on the number of inspectors available to the department.

However, in Australia, inspectors are having to travel much longer distances between warehouses to inspect and approve. Because of the delays, importers are also having to absorb the cost and losses from shortened shelf life and storage fees to hold sealed containers while they wait for a scheduled inspector.

To curb the problem, the DAWR decided to implement a Compliance-Based Inspection (CBI) scheme last year, which was piloted during the New Zealand avocado season.

The CBI scheme means that if a product reaches a certain number of approved inspections (for avocados it’s five in a row), they will then move to a reduced inspection rate (again for avocados, inspections will reduce to one in four shipments).

“The new scheme was intended to reward importers who could achieve a good compliance history with decreased inspection rates and faster entry. To date, no importers have achieved these reduced inspection rates,” New Zealand Avocados told Asiafruit in a statement.

“An overriding reason is the difficulty of accurately identifying often globally distributed organisms (and their eggs), down to a taxonomic level to confirm they are not of quarantine concern,” they said.

The same issue appeared in 2016 when lemons and limes from the US were subject to the trial and saw backlogs of up to ten days.

While experiencing setbacks in gaining approval, a lot of the annoyance over changes stems from the where funding of the inspection program comes from.

“The frustrating thing is that it’s industry funded. So, most of the time the limitation is cost for government processes, but this is definitely not a case of that. The industry has never said ‘we’re not willing to pay for this,’” said the anonymous AHEIA member.

The DAWR sad it’s working closely with industry and trading partners to optimise compliance and minimise any disruption, while facilitating safe trade.

Source: http://www.fruitnet.com/asiafruit

Author: Camellia Aebischer

Australia begins risk analysis for Chilean avocados

Draft report expected to be released for public consultation before the end of this year

Chile’s bid to send fresh avocados to Australia is progressing, with a review of biosecurity import requirements now underway.

The risk analysis is being conducted by the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, with a draft report expected to be released for public consultation before the end of 2018.

“The application has been with the department for some time, and they have now allocated resources to review it” said John Tyas, chief executive of peak industry body Avocados Australia.

“We need to let the department go through the process. It’s got to be a science-based approach so that any potential risks can be picked up.”

According to a release from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, a preliminary assessment of Chilean avocados has found potential pests of quarantine concern (fruit fly, scale insects, mealybug, thrips and mites) are the same, or of the same pest groups, as those associated with other horticultural commodities previously assessed by the department.

“Given that these pests have been assessed previously and for which risk management measures are already established, quarantine pests associated with Chilean avocados will not require different risk management measures to those required for other horticultural commodities,” the release explained.

Should Chile’s application progress and market access open up, the Latin American nation would likely send fruit over the Australian summer, based on the timing of its crop.

Tyas said production had traditionally struggled to keep pace with demand in Australia over January and February, although this doesn’t automatically translate to a window of opportunity.

“We have fruit from New Zealand that helps us fill that gap over these summer months,” Tyas told Asiafruit.

“We’re also seeing a lot of new plantings here in Australia, with one-third of the new trees in the ground yet to reach full maturity. Whether there is a good opportunity for Chilean fruit remains to be seen.”

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