Seeka Kiwifruit Industries has reported higher than average returns for its growers of NZ$26.86 per tray of avocados in the 2015/16, up on last season’s NZ$16.64 per export tray.
Strong demand from Australia and other exports markets helped increase returns for growers, with Seeka’s brand and marketing manager Annmarie Lee citing Seeka’s approach to harvesting and marketing avocados bolstering the success of the season.
Seeka ties its harvesting directly to specific markets, picking fruit to match sales in export markets while also ensuring that fruit is available during certain periods, such as post-Christmas when avocado prices typically spike.
“Our growers have worked very closely with us to ensure our retail programme has been successful,” Lee said, adding that Seeka’s purchase of Australian fresh fruit producer Bunbartha Fruit Packers helped strengthen the company’s relationship with Australian retailers.
“The demand for avocados in Australia is continuing to grow hugely,” she said. “However, we will also be shipping into Japan in the coming season, when we are expecting much more fruit to be available.”
The New Zealand post-harvest company has diversified into avocado production, packing and exports in the past few years, and more recently appointed Seeka avocado specialist Jonathan Dixon to chief technical officer, Lynnari Avers as avocado category manager and Ben Tuck as avocado customer relationship manager.
“We have boosted our avocado grower services team and picked up more orchards. And the strength of our team contributes to a quality crop, which we are able to effectively manage with our growers,” said Simon Wells, Seeka GM grower services. “And because Seeka is fully integrated, we are able to control our supply chain and manage the quality of the fruit all the way through from orchard to market.”
Wells added that the New Zealand avocado industry had an excellent year, and emphasised the need for the industry to continue collaborating in export markets ahead of the larger volume of fruit forecast for the 2016/17 season.
Seeka exported 225,00 trays of avocados in 2015/16 season, and supplied 84,000 trays to the domestic market.