18 Oct 2010

New export markets priority for avocado industry

6:06 am on 18 October 2010

The Avocado Industry Council says developing new export markets is a priority for the industry.

Chair John Schnackenberg says that with a further 200,000 trees reaching maturity in the next few years, the industry expects to be able to treble its production to 12 million trays per year by 2015.

Last season the industry produced 21,500 tonnes of avocados or nearly four million trays.

Mr Schnackenberg says nearly two-thirds of last year's harvest was exported to Australia and he believes the industry needs to reduce its reliance on that export market because domestic production is increasing there.

He says new export markets, particularly in Asia, need to be developed.

Mr Schnackenberg says the council is waiting on getting clearance for exports to China and India, but New Zealand's main focus is on south-east Asia for the next three to six years.

Mr Schnackenberg says some south-east Asian countries have concerns around chemical residues on avocados, which the industry is trying to rectify.