For fresh fruit and vegetable marketing and distribution in Asia
Matthew Jones

BY MATTHEW JONES

@mattfruitnet

Tuesday 13th January 2015, 08:34 Hong Kong

NZ Avocado eyes Chinese opportunities

Peak body says securing market access has been made a priority, with market development already underway

NZ Avocado eyes Chinese opportunities

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China looms as the next frontier for New Zealand’s expanding avocado export industry, with market access to the People’s Republic seemingly on the horizon.

“New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has confirmed with their Chinese counterparts that avocados are top priority for access for horticultural products from New Zealand,” said Jen Scoular, CEO New Zealand Avocado. “We are working closely with MPI to provide the information required by China, as our two countries negotiate access agreements.”

While there is still no set timeframe on when access may be approved, New Zealand Avocado has already made inroads into market development.

Scoular was joined Ashby Whitehead, chairman of New Zealand Avocado, and Tony Ponder, director of leading exporter Avanza, at the China Fruit and Vegetable Fair (FVF) in Beijing during November. It followed on from the launch of the New Zealand avocado category story at Asia Fruit Logistica in Hong Kong during September.

“Attending the FVF show was a positive step in demonstrating to China our commitment to the Chinese market and our desire to ensure we have systems and processes in place to meet the requirements of the Chinese market,” Scoular told Asiafruit. “Attending these events is part of our proactive strategy to develop all Asian markets, which we have been able to invest in through our Primary Growth partnership programme.”

Scoular admits New Zealand is likely to supply only a “small percentage” of the Chinese market once access is approved. However, she said the industry would work with in-market partners to develop distribution channels and category awareness, in order to achieve value for all parties.

“As we all know, China is such a huge country with a vast range of consumers,” Scoular explained. “Many consumers have travelled broadly, and are well aware of avocados, but there are also many who may have never seen an avocado. Our strategy is to invest strongly in all the markets we sell avocados into, so it is really important to understand the consumer, the import landscape, and to build and maintain strong in-market relationships.”

The New Zealand industry is around 80 per cent of the way through its season, with around 3.7m trays shipped so far. The total crop volume is expected to pass 4.6m export trays, down marginally on the July 2014 estimate of 4.7m trays.To date, 66 per cent of the export crop has gone into Australia, while a further 17 per cent and 18 per cent has gone into the US and Asia respectively.

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