'Biggest year' ever for avocado growers
With avocados back on the menu, New Zealand growers are gearing up for their best season ever.
That's according to John Carroll, director of the country's largest exporter Avoco, who says his firm expects to ship off about 3.2 million trays of the fruit in the coming months.
In total, 5.1 million trays, about 28,000 tonnes, are predicted to depart our shores, mainly bound for Australia and Asia.
"Definitely, this will be the biggest year that we've had - full stop," Mr Carroll told NZ Newswire from an orchard in the Bay of Plenty.
His prediction for a bumper season takes into account export volumes and price.
Last year Avoco, which holds more than 60 percent of the export market, sent just 1.5 million trays overseas but growers were rewarded with extraordinary returns of $28 a tray.
This year they're expected to get about $20 - significantly less than last year but well above average - but with most trees heavy with fruit and smashed avocado on toast in hot demand, their overall returns are predicted to spike.
And Mr Carroll said things would only get better for growers as Australians had a big appetite for avocados and the Asian market was hungry for more of the fruit.
"In terms of the medium to long term, you can't get carried away with yourself, but the fact of the matter is the demand for avocados in real total revenue is running faster than supply," he said.
The good news for Kiwis is that popping an avocado in your morning smoothie will no longer cost you an arm and a leg.
Earlier this year the fruit was selling for $6 a piece, but as growers begin to pick and push their fruit into supermarkets prices have already dropped to $2 at some outlets.
Mr Carroll said by November that could drop to just $1.