Australia has a problem – too many avocados

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The steady increase in production of one of Australia’s favorite fruits this harvest season has led to a steep drop in its prices.

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The avocado, once regarded as a symbol of health and elitism, is now so abundant in Australia that farmers have to deal with rotting produce.

Fruit prices in Australia have fallen to just 73 cents (53p) from US$2.20 (£1.6) earlier this year. Earlier in 2018, the fruit was priced at $6.6 (£4.8) by Australians.

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The country saw an increase in avocado production in the last 10 years after farmers planted more trees to meet the growing demand. The crop is grown year-round in Australia.

According to industry group Avocados Australia, people in the country are now consuming 4 kg of fruit per person per year, with the number expected to rise to 5 kg by 2022.

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The continent has produced 65 percent more avocados than last year and is expected to produce 167,315 tonnes of avocados in 2026.

“It’s just the beginning. It’s definitely on some people’s minds whether it will be viable for them to go ahead. They can do a year-round season like this, but if it continues, I mean That pricing is purely not sustainable,” said Avocados Australia chief executive John Tyce bloomberg.

Months of the Covid-19 lockdown have now caused more avocados to rot in farms than on supermarket shelves. The current spike in production has been attributed to good weather conditions in Western Australia, which is expected to produce a record crop this year.

However, the aggrieved farmers claim that letting their policemen die on the trees is a viable economic decision, given the circumstances. Due to continuous loss in income, many cultivators have expressed their desire to exit the industry.

Tony Pratt, a farmer on Australia’s Sunshine Coast, told ABC News: “A dollar an avocado at the supermarket means all farms are losing money – it doesn’t matter if you’re a small family farm or corporate. There are farms.”

“We will pack out for the orders we have received, but you cannot send the fruit to the market or get anything for it,” he said.

Although some Australian avocados find their way into Asian markets in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong, exports are relatively small.

Even though the country exported only four per cent of its crop in 2020-21, farmers are now looking for these opportunities. Mr Tyes argues that the fall in prices is making Australian exports more attractive.

Despite being a steady producer of avocados, Australia imported around 24,310 tonnes of fresh and dried avocados last year.

Experts now expect domestic demand to increase as the lockdown restrictions are lifted amid the upcoming festivals.

Mr Tyes said consumers “absolutely don’t need to back down” around Christmas because of the low cost.

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Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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