It was the summer of 2018 and Australians were sweating. In his hands: a single avocado pear, barely ripe. The price: $ 9. Could it be worth it? And how many times had they squeezed it?
Fortunately, while a lot has gone wrong in the world since that fateful January, one thing has gone right: This winter, Australians can afford to eat all the avo toast they like, and the tasty green fruit sells for just $ 1. (55p, or 77c) each.
The spectacular drop in price is due to an abundant harvest, the result of good weather and new trees. Australia is home to three million avocado trees; half of them were planted only in the last five years. It can take only three to four years for trees to start bearing fruit.
“Avocado production is 65% higher this year than last year,” said John Tyas, CEO of Avocados Australia. “The planets have aligned and it’s phenomenal.”
For avocado lovers, the good news keeps coming. New technology developed this year by the University of Queensland could enable the production of 500 new trees from a millimeter cut down in the future, compared to the only tree per cut now obtained by growers. Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
“Like many people in the developed world, Australians didn’t really eat avocado 20 years ago,” Lyons said.
He attributes the local appetite for fresh spreads – technically a berry – to the fact that avocados can be grown year-round. Australians also eat avocados for breakfast, with the beloved and now ubiquitous “smashed avocado”, chopped with a fork, seasoned and served with toast, made world famous by Sydney chef Bill Granger.
“My parents probably didn’t eat an avocado until they were 50 years old,” said Daryl Boardman, who switched from dryland wheat and cotton to avocados in 1999. “I didn’t eat one until I was 20 years old. Now people start eating them like babies. “
So voracious is the appetite for avocados in Australia that young people have been warned to stop eating so many if they ever want to own their own home. In 2016, a columnist for News Corp’s The Australian newspaper complained that he had personally seen young people paying “$ 22 each and more” for a crushed avo, when instead they could have been saving this money for a house. The financial advice was echoed by Australian millionaire Tim Gurner in 2017.
The price of a dollar may mean that millennial Australians can finally have it all.
“This is the year to collect your house deposit,” Tyas said, laughing. “While avocados are such a good value, you should be able to save a couple of bucks.” Furthermore, Australian house prices are among the fastest growing in the world. And unlike avocados, money doesn’t grow on trees.
Australian avocado production has more than double in ten years, from 40,000 tonnes in 2009/10 to almost 90,000 in 2019/20, worth almost $ 500 million (AU $ 493 million). Of these, 80% were Hass avocados, with the much-maligned Shepard variety accounting for 17%. Only 5% of this is exported.
It is likely to double again in the next ten years, Tyas said.
The small amount of imported avocados comes from relatively close New Zealand, which means that Australian consumers are not exposed to so-called “blood avocados” grown in Mexico and produced with the involvement of violent cartels.
Australia plans to increase its avocado exports, with the Avocado Fund, a research and development fund financed with taxes paid by farmers, with the goal of exporting 10% of avocados this year. However, it is unlikely that the UK will be able to say “G’day” to either of them: it already has the service of low-cost providers, and it is also a long way from Australia.
The producers have their eyes, instead, in Asia. Australia recently gained access to the Japanese market, a difficult negotiation as the Queensland fruit fly is a quarantine pest.
The Asian market will be important if farmers want to reap the benefits of larger crops. Australian avocados are finally competitive with those in markets like Chile and Mexico, Boardman said. He also hopes that the lower local cost means that more people can afford to eat them, and that those who are already adept at cutting a large brown nugget will buy more than ever.
You just want the buyers to stop squeezing the fruit. “Not good for avocados. it is his most vulnerable moment, “he said. “They must be handled like eggs.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism