Banner Image
Avocado Oversupply has Farmers Worrying about Wastage

Avocado Oversupply has Farmers Worrying about Wastage


Avocado Oversupply has Farmers Worrying about Wastage

Article by: Hari Yellina

According to a recent report by the agribusiness bank Rabobank, Australian growers will produce 22 avocados per Australian this year, up 26% from the data from the previous year. Australia is on track to produce 124,000 tonnes of avocados this year, up 30,000 tonnes from last, according to report author Pia Piggott. According to the report, avocado output in Australia has exploded in recent years, growing significantly between 2017 and 2019. “Over 1,000 hectares of avocado trees were planted annually during that time, and [those] trees are still maturing and producing avocados,” Ms Piggott said.

“This year, we’ve seen a significant rise, especially in WA, where acreage is maturing. And throughout Australia, we will see that increase over the coming years. The rise in supply has, as customers have learned, resulted in a decrease in pricing at the supermarket or greengrocer. Prices this year are 47% below the five-year average, according to Ms. Piggott. “Simple demand-and-supply economics tell us that when supply grows, the price will drop,” she said. Retail avocado prices hit a record low of $1 per fruit in June of last year and again in the first few days of this month.

“We’ve observed that Australian consumers have boosted their usage in response to the price decrease,” according to Ms. Piggott. The average number of avocados consumed by each Australian home grew by 31.2% over the previous year. According to a Rabobank research, major markets for avocado exports over the previous year included Singapore, Hong Kong, and Malaysia. “We can continue exporting to those nations while also expanding our export opportunities to places like Thailand, India, the Middle East, and Japan,” Ms. Piggott said. “When we do that, we can really push out greater volume in the export market,” she added.

Meanwhile, the poor pricing has put growers under a lot of stress since they already face rising input costs and a labour shortage. Jim Kochi, an avocado grower from Atherton in Far North Queensland and the chairman of Avocados Australia, claimed that returns to growers were at their lowest levels in roughly 20 years. He stated that “some growers are removing elderly trees… or blocks that aren’t functioning and have issues.” “When you have trees, it’s quite tough because they’ve been in the ground for a very long period, and it’s hard to just shift to something new,” Mr. Kochi concurred that sending more avocados to the export market was the easiest fix.

“We have markets that will accept avocados in South-East Asia and, maybe, India,” the man continued. “Because some sizes, notably the smaller sizes and the really enormous ones, are more popular on export markets than on the Australian market, it is complementary to what we do here.” The opportunity to maintain the existing variety of products entering the home market exists there. Mr. Kochi’s advice for Australian consumers was to simply eat an additional avocado every two weeks. “I guess it’s one of the superfoods, and we only need Australians, those avocado aficionados, to take up one more,” said the speaker. “And those who still don’t get the avocado bug should just have a go,” he said.