New Zealand’s avocado industry represents a bright future for the sector, Associate Minister of Agriculture Minister, Meka Whaitiri said today as she opened the World Avocado Congress in Auckland.
At the international event, Minister Whaitiri acknowledged the resilience of local growers, despite recent challenging weather events.
“The avocado industry is a significant contributor not only to New Zealand’s export revenue, regional economy, and employment, but in many other countries globally,” Ms Whaitiri said.
“Events like the World Avocado Congress are a great opportunity to celebrate the industry’s successes and collaborate on future opportunities for growth.
“That New Zealand’s avocado industry has been able to host this congress so soon after such a devastating series of weather events is a good illustration of how we approach things here in New Zealand.”
The four-yearly congress is the largest global event for the avocado industry, with over 800 delegates from 28 different countries registered to attend. This makes the 2023 Congress the largest horticultural event New Zealand will have hosted in the last four years.
The Congress brings together growers, scientists, researchers, marketers, retailers, tech innovators, and investors from 32 countries around the world, including around 200 avocado delegates from Mexico, 80 from the United States, 130 from Australia and nearly 50 from South Africa.
Congress delegates will spend two days visiting avocado operations in Glenbrook, Tapora, Whangarei and the Bay of Plenty to see innovation in New Zealand avocado industry.
Minister Whaitiri said the Government continued to support the avocado sector through the work of the Ministry for Primary Industries, and partnering with the avocado sector on the $11.4 million New Zealand Avocados Go Global programme.
This delivered best practice across the value chain and boosted capability and productivity to ensure consumers have access to Aotearoa New Zealand’s premium avocados, she said.
NZ Avocados Go Global has enabled the avocado industry to pivot their supply into alternative markets such as Asia. The work undertaken to open new markets and maintain existing Asian markets has helped boost the industry’s resilience. Export volumes to Asia more than doubled from last season to reach $32.9 million in value (around 42 percent of export revenue for 2021/22).
“I also want to acknowledge the innovation of the Tiaki Promise in the context of this industry,” said Minister Whaitiri.
“Tiaki means caring for people and place – now and for future generations. Our New Zealand avocado industry demonstrates tiaki through its focus on economic and environmental sustainability, and a commitment to the people working in the industry.
“This is something overseas growers are interested to learn more about, as we welcome them to New Zealand.”