Unprecedented demand for new planting in the growing avocado industry has prompted Bay of Plenty post-harvest operator Trevelyan's Pack and Cool to launch its own nursery.
The company also plans to sell avocados online directly to the public.
Trevelyan's avocado manager Daniel Birnie said the company would soon begin grafting plants near its main Te Puke packhouse and coolstore operation to boost supply for local growers. The company said it hoped to have from 2000-3000 available for sale by next spring.
New Zealand Avocado chief executive Jen Scoullar said there was currently a waiting list of two-to-three years. The two main nurseries for avocados are in Whangarei and Gisborne.
"A lack of trees is a constraint on growth in our industry," said Ms Scoullar. "I believe we have the capability as an exporter of avocados to build volume. Additional supply is not a detriment, because we're still a relatively small player."
Another nursery would be a positive for the industry, said Ms Scoullar.
Trevelyan's Daniel Birnie said the company was excited about the development, which highlighted the growth the industry was experiencing.
The industry was in great shape, he said, adding that he expected more avocado orchards to be planted across the Bay of Plenty.
"We see an advantage in being able to assist local growers in accessing plants so they can either develop new blocks or replant existing blocks."
Trevelyan's is half way through harvesting and packing what it estimated would be a record 750,000 trays this season.
"The Australian market is looking particularly strong between now and the end of February thanks to consumer demand and a short supply of Australian-grown fruit," he said.
"We're hoping for returns of between $20 and $25 a tray, so it's going to be a pretty good season all round."
Trevelyan's recently hired a new staff member to offer more dedicated technical support. Danni van der Heijden, a former research associate at NZ Avocado, will join Mr Birnie and avocado consultant, Jonathan Cutting, to work with Trevelyan's growers and offer technical advice on issues such as nutrition and pruning.
Trevelyan's are now also selling avocados online direct to the public through its partner company, BayFarms.
"I'm not aware of any other post-harvest operators selling avocados directly in this manner, but we launched online a few months ago and it's really starting to gain traction," said Mr Birnie.
Trevelyan's Pack and Cool:
* Currently packs kiwifruit for 250-plus growers.
* Employs about 150 permanent staff and up to 1500 seasonal staff for its fruit packing operations.