Exports grow better when working as a pair

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Newly formed avocado exporter Avoco has raised its forecast for this season's earnings in Australia. It now expects to hit the $50 million mark by the end of the harvest, which starts late next month.

Avoco director Alistair Young says the latest analysis of the potential harvest suggests an above-average yield.

Formed last month by New Zealand's two largest avocado exporters, Avoco represents about 75 per cent of New Zealand growers and holds a similar-sized chunk of sales in the Australian market.

"We were forecasting retail and wholesale sales in Australia of about $40 million when we launched Avoco.

"However, the harvest predictions and updated market expectations, coupled with the fact that we are attracting additional growers at a faster rate than we anticipated, have given Avoco a momentum that should lead to it nearing the $50 million sales barrier for the 2013/14 season in Australia, which is about 20 per cent ahead of our initial expectations."

Avoco is a collaborative venture after decades of fierce rivalry between Bay of Plenty-based Southern Produce and Auckland-based Primor Produce.

They have put aside their long-standing commercial competitiveness in the best interests of their growers by creating The New Zealand Avocado Company, a joint venture company to export into Australia via Avoco.

"We have realised that it makes complete sense to work as a partnership against foreign competitors rather than fight among ourselves," adds Alistair Young, who is also a Southern Produce director.

"The interests of the New Zealand avocado industry and its growers are best served by a unified entity that is focused totally on getting the best orchard-gate returns for growers."

The two rivals had been working together in some markets outside of their main Australian market under the umbrella of Avanza, but the new entity means they are now collaborating in all their avocado markets - marking a significant turning-point for the avocado industry and providing a role model for other competitive export sectors.

"It is our belief that the way forward for New Zealand's avocado industry is for the two companies to collaborate completely, creating an entity like other primary industries have done successfully," says Primor Produce director and general manager John Carroll.

"Growers have demanded we perform better as an export industry, and this remarkable marketing development is our response," he says. "Avoco held its inaugural board meeting at Te Puna, near Tauranga, last month and we have already had to revise our forecast earnings upwards."

Young says the new entity is committed to getting the best possible returns for growers by providing outstanding product, information and service to its customers worldwide.

- Hamilton News

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