'Avocado price blowout': Extra orchards planted to cope with demand

There's some good news for avocado lovers reeling from the price of the popular fruit, with an increase in the number of orchard developments.

A low supply of the fruit has seen some spotted on sale in Auckland for $10 each, while NZME reported the high prices have forced an Auckland Mexican restaurant to axe a popular guacamole dish from its menu.

Industry leaders say there is growing number of new avocado developments, including dairy farms which are being converted to avocado orchards.

New Zealand Avocado industry CEO Jen Scoular told Magic Talk's Rural Exchange that the number of avocado orchard developments was on the rise - especially in the Far North, where growing conditions were good.

"We are seeing that people are recognising that avocados have a huge potential," she said.

She said demand across the world has grown as consumers recognised the benefits of avocados.

Jen Scoular said demand for avocados is growing across the world.
Jen Scoular said demand for avocados is growing across the world. Photo credit: Supplied

"There is alot of green field investment into avocados and a number are out of dairy farms," said Scoular.

Scoular said that there are varying sizes of orchards being developed, including one in the Far North of around 200 hectares.

As well as increasing supplies of the fruit, she said the new orchards would boost local employment.

"We are actually seeing some great employment opportunities for people in Northland."

"These are people working full time, across the year."

She said seasonal workers would also be needed, and for a longer period of time than on other orchard types.

"Unlike kiwifruit and apples, we have an elongated harvest - we don't cool-store avocados after harvest."

The new orchards will take at least two years before they produce fruit.

However for those who can't wait that long, new season Hass avocados are expected to hit the shelves in July.

Watch Jen Scoular's full interview with Rural Exchange.

Rural Exchange with Hamish McKay and Richard Loe, 6-8am Saturday and Sunday on Magic Talk.

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