Avocado crisis in New Zealand

More and more people are buying the green superfruit. This poses growing problems for producers and consumers in New Zealand.

More and more consumers are reaching for avocados in the supermarket.

All want avocados: The booming demand for the green superfruit is creating growing problems for producers and consumers in New Zealand. The police are reporting more and more cases of avocado theft and some tree nurseries have waiting lists for avocado trees, according to New Zealand media.

Because the harvest was meager and the fruit is in great demand even out of season, prices in New Zealand rose to five dollars (just under 3 euros) per piece. The police have also reported a wave of thefts in the Bay of Plenty cultivation region on the North Island in recent weeks, sometimes in broad daylight. A perpetrator even rolled to the crime scene in an electric vehicle.

The high prices induce many New Zealanders to plant an avocado tree themselves. “Who wouldn’t want an avocado tree in the garden that bears 500 avocados,” said Stephen Wade from the Lynwood nursery of the German Press Agency. But supplies are also becoming scarce at the tree nurseries. Although he has increased his production by 500 percent to 150,000 trees, there are waiting lists in some sales outlets, said Wade.

While only 30,000 new saplings came onto the market five years ago, there were 200,000 this year, said Jen Scoular of the New Zealand Avocado Association.

The warm climate of New Zealand’s North Island is very good for the avocados that originally came from Mexico. The avocado industry in the Pacific state has sales of about $ 87 million, more than two-thirds of that from exports.