Avocados Australia is growing exports in the ripe direction

Avocados Australia Limited is working with Austrade to grow avocado exports.

Australia’s humble avocado is taking over the world. Over the last 4 years, Avocados Australia Limited (AAL) has worked with Austrade to grow avocado exports by 98% over a 12-month period. With a year-round supply and proximity to Asia, Australian avocados are set to smash more export records.

A study tour of the Middle East supported by Austrade boosted exports from 50 tonnes a year to 50 tonnes a month. Austrade is also helping AAL to navigate new protocol markets including India, Japan and Thailand.

‘Australian avocados are some of the best in the world,’ says Flora Zhang, Export Development Manager, Avocados Australia Limited. ‘We are grateful to Austrade for its notable agricultural, networks, supporting our export growth strategy.’ 

Below: Avocados Australia representatives visiting Qatar.

Group of Avocados Australia representatives in a meeting room during visit to Qatar

Taking Australian avocados to the world

Avocados are versatile fruits known for their health-boosting qualities. Once consumed by the Aztecs and Mayans, avocados are increasing in popularity. By 2030, avocados are expected to be the world’s most traded tropical fruit (Source: Horticulture Innovation Australia, Avocado Strategic Investment Plan 2022–2026, 2021, accessed November 2023). In 2022–23, the global industry was worth over $11 billion, growing on average 5% over the last 5 years.

Australian avocados are known for their rich, creamy flavour and superior quality. It is no secret that Aussies love their avocados. Australia is the third-largest consumer in the world, at 4.5 kg per person each year. In 2022–23, the nation produced 10,685 tonnes of avocados, valued at more than $58 million. Australia is one of the world’s top 20 producers, led by Mexico, Colombia and Peru.

AAL is the peak industry body for the Australian avocado Industry. AAL is working with growers, exporters, importers and retailers to increase Australia’s avocado exports. AAL helps the industry with market access requirements, registration and auditing. It offers consultation, how-to videos and biosecurity awareness training.

Consumers in new markets also need information about avocados, such as when to eat, how to ripen and what to prepare with an avocado. AAL supports the industry with branding, innovative product promotions and information at point-of-sale. AAL also provides sharable resources to increase consumer knowledge about the fruit.

Boosting exports with Austrade’s support

The Australian avocado industry is relatively new to exporting. In 2021, the industry tripled avocado exports to 3,800 tonnes. Between 2020–21 and 2022–23, Hong Kong accounted for 48% of exports, followed by Singapore (30%) and Malaysia (18%).

Austrade’s in-market connections are opening doors to new opportunities. In the next 4 years, production of Australian avocados will increase by 50%. AAL is working with Austrade to find new markets and grow market share across Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Austrade works with peak industry and marketing bodies to support campaigns, events and promotions.

AAL and Austrade partnered at Gulfood, the world’s largest annual food exhibition in Dubai. In February 2023, Austrade supported a study tour of the Middle East, visiting the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Delegates visited supermarkets and fresh produce markets, and attended business-to-business meetings and Austrade briefings.

‘Off the back of the study tour, we went from exporting 50 tonnes a year to the Middle East to almost 50 tonnes a month,’ says Zhang. ‘And that is thanks to Austrade.’

Diversifying to protocol markets

One of AAL’s critical roles is supporting the industry in protocol markets. Unlike open access markets, protocol markets require strict quality management and process controls.

In 2018, the Australian avocado industry gained part access to Japan, a protocol market. Japan is the largest importer of avocados in Asia, with no known local production. In 2023, parts of Australia gained access to India and Thailand, both protocol markets. Thailand signed a protocol memorandum in September 2023, with the potential to expand imports following trends in other Asian markets.

‘Thailand’s modern dining scene is great for Australian avocados. We will be working with local business networks to profile Australian avocados and generate awareness of our high-quality produce,’ says Austrade Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner to Thailand Michael Helleman.

India committed to a protocol arrangement in November 2023. The tariff on avocados in India is currently 21.4% under the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement. The tariff will reduce by 4.3% a year until 1 January 2028, when it is eliminated.

Helping growers to export

To boost exports, AAL is extending support to Australian growers.

‘We offer a tailored approach to suit everyone’s journey,’ says Zhang. ‘We need more growers to understand and support exports, to build a supply of export-ready fruit. Because of the rapid export growth, there are strong opportunities for the industry to build collective export knowledge and experience.

‘Avocados are a trending, bountiful commodity. And the opportunities are fast-approaching,’ says Zhang. 

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