New Zealand Avocado can now export avocados to China in the 2018 season after a successful technical audit of the regulatory system for exporting this week.
The Ministry for Primary Industries and China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine signed the protocol to agree on export requirements in November 2017.
A successful audit was the final step in enabling the export of avocados to China.
The New Zealand industry has been seeking access for four years and has been building an understanding of the market, with exporters building relationships in the China market.
NZ Avocado has attended the China International Fruit and Vegetable Fair in Beijing for the past four years on the New Zealand stand with other horticulture sectors.
NZ Avocado chair Tony Ponder said gaining access to China for its avocados was a key focus for the board.
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"We recognised the need to commit to that market with regular visits to build relationships at a political and commercial level," Ponder said.
NZ Avocado will airfreight a trial shipment to Shanghai in the current season, which will be enjoyed by Kiwis at a New Zealand Trade and Enterprise-arranged event at NZ Central.
Zespri staff at the kiwifruit marketing body's China head office in Shanghai will also enjoy some avocados from the trial shipment.
Mexico, Peru and Chile are the only other countries with access to the huge Chinese market.
NZ Avocado chief Jen Scoular said the global demand for avocados had certainly hit China.
"We are thrilled to be able to offer avocados from New Zealand to consumers, who are keen to add avocados to their daily diet," Scoular said.
"Recent research about avocados from New Zealand show that avocados grown in New Zealand have 20 per cent more folate and twice as much vitamin B6 than avocados grown elsewhere, and we will be exploring our messaging in China in regard to that differentiation."
Avocado Export Council chair Alistair Petrie said the 2018 export season starts in August, and the first shipments are likely to be in mid-to-late September.
"We have been anticipating access to China for some time, and it is exciting to now have the opportunity," Petrie said.
"We have established relationships in China and will work with them to develop niche markets for our avocados."