New Zealand is a significant step closer towards supplying fresh avocados to Chinese consumers and opening up access to a brand new market for our growers, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and New Zealand Avocado announced today.
A series of technical discussions and the negotiation and signing of a protocol to agree export requirements for avocados have successfully wrapped up between MPI and China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), with input from New Zealand's avocado industry.
The next step before trade commences is an audit of New Zealand's regulatory system for exporting avocados by AQSIQ in mid-December 2017.
"Securing export access for our avocados into China is New Zealand's top horticulture priority," says MPI Director-General Martyn Dunne.
"I would like to acknowledge the extensive work, support and cooperation by MPI, industry body New Zealand Avocado and AQSIQ officials in enabling this significant progress in New Zealand's trade with China."
In the 2016/17 season, New Zealand's avocado industry achieved its best ever season reaching a record breaking industry value of more than $200 million from 7.9 million trays.
Avocados are still relatively unknown in China, but demand for New Zealand's avocados has boomed. In 2016/17, New Zealand exported $155.5 million of avocados into markets such as Australia, Japan, Singapore, Korea and Thailand – growth of around $64 million from the previous season.
China is expected to be a significant market for New Zealand avocados.
"China is very aware of the significant global increase in avocado consumption, the associated health benefits and the strong growth and huge potential in the avocado category," says New Zealand Avocado Chief Executive Jen Scoular.
"Our conversations with Chinese importers show there will be strong interest in New Zealand avocados."
"Our aim is to create a globally competitive, high-value, sustainable horticulture industry delivering real returns to New Zealand," says Tony Ponder, Chair of the New Zealand Avocado Growers Association.
"We're well on the way towards this, and access to China for our avocados will play a big part."
Avocado exports will join New Zealand's other fresh fruit exports to China that include apples, kiwifruit, cherries, plums, citrus and persimmons.
Martyn Dunne says the progress towards avocado access into China is a good demonstration of the strength of collaboration and positive, respectful relationships.
"The progress to date towards securing access for our avocados is underpinned by collaboration and the positive relationship shared by both New Zealand and China," says Mr Dunne.
"MPI and the avocado industry are committed to getting our avocado trade with China underway as soon as possible."
Growth in the avocado industry is also being enabled through the New Zealand Avocados Go Global Primary Growth Partnership programme between New Zealand Avocado and MPI. It's a 5-year, $8.56 million collaboration that has made real progress towards goals to triple productivity and grow industry returns to $280 million per year by 2023.