The avocado industry has had a good year and has ambitious growth objectives, but needs to improve on inconsistent supply, says New Zealand Avocado chief executive Jen Scoular.
"We have a very inconsistent supply and our productivity is pretty low," said Ms Scoular.
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Irregular bearing - where volumes fluctuate up and down in alternate years - has long plagued New Zealand avocado growers and the industry is working with Plant & Food Research, industry experts and growers to address the problem.
"The big plan is how do we stop this happening and maintain more consistent supply. But from a value point of view, this has been a pretty phenomenal year."
Avocados are New Zealand's third-largest fresh fruit export industry, with a free on board value of $135 million in export and domestic sales in the 2014-15 season. Exporters have reported record prices over the past season in a market characterised by tight supply.
The industry aims to quadruple sales to $280 million and triple productivity by 2023, and has been working to develop alternatives to the mainstay export market of Australia.
Ms Scoular was speaking at last week's ceremony in Tauranga to mark NZ Avocado Growers' Association signing the deed of the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) for Biosecurity Readiness and Response.
The signing was attended by the Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy, NZAGA chair Ashby Whitehead and representatives from the Ministry for Primary Industries, the GIA Secretariat and the avocado industry.
Mr Guy welcomed the avocado industry to the partnership.
"Instead of industry being critical of MPI when we get down to a response or our preparedness to deal with pests and diseases, now you will be sitting at the table working on operations to deal with it," he said. GIA Secretariat Manager Steve Rich welcomed NZ Avocado to the partnership, saying the new addition would further strengthen efforts to better deliver biosecurity outcomes.
"It's pleasing to see more industry groups joining thegrowing partnership," he said.
The avocado industry is the eighth signatory to GIA partnership, joining Kiwifruit Vine Health, Pipfruit New Zealand, New Zealand Pork, New Zealand Equine Health Association, Onions New Zealand and the New Zealand Forestry Owners Association.