New Zealand Avocado is excited by the opportunity to export avocados to China in the 2018 season, following a successful technical audit of the regulatory system for exporting this week.
The Ministry for Primary Industries and China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine signed the protocol to agree export requirements in November 2017, and a successful audit was the final step in enabling the export of avocados to China.
The New Zealand industry has been seeking access for four years and through that time has been building an understanding of the market, with exporters building relationships in the China market. NZ Avocado has attended the China International Fruit and Vegetable Fair in Beijing for the last four years, on the New Zealand stand with other horticulture sectors.
“Gaining access to China for our avocados has been a key focus for the board,” says NZ Avocado chair Tony Ponder. “We recognised the need to commit to that market with regular visits to build relationships at a political and commercial level.”
NZ Avocado will airfreight a trial shipment to Shanghai in the current season, which will be enjoyed by kiwis at a New Zealand Trade and Enterprise arranged event at NZ Central. Zespri staff at their China head office in Shanghai will also enjoy some avocados from the trial shipment.
Avocado imports into China are increasing very strongly as Chinese consumers learn about the impressive nutritional properties of avocados. Mexico, Peru and Chile are the only other countries with access to the huge Chinese market.
The global demand for avocados has certainly hit China, says NZ Avocado CEO Jen Scoular.
“We are thrilled to be able to offer avocados from New Zealand to consumers, who are keen to add avocados to their daily diet.
“Recent research about avocados from New Zealand show that avocados grown in New Zealand have 20 percent more folate and twice as much vitamin B6 than avocados grown elsewhere, and we will be exploring our messaging in China in regard to that differentiation,” says Jen.
The 2018 export season starts in August, and the first shipments are likely to be in mid to late September, reports Avocado Export Council chair Alistair Petrie.
“We have been anticipating access to China for some time and it is exciting to now have the opportunity. We have established relationships in China and will work with them to develop niche markets for our avocados,” he says.
Tony acknowledges the extensive work, support and cooperation by MPI, AQSIQ officials, and New Zealand Avocado - this work has enabled significant progress in New Zealand’s trade with China. He also acknowledges the growers and packer involved in the trial who he says put in significant time and resource on behalf of the industry to ensure this last step was successful.