Sever flooding in Queensland doubled with one of Eastern Australia’s wettest summers on record since 1900 has opened up opportunities for an explosion in New Zealand imported produce.
Cheaper labour costs and a low exchange rate already give increasing volumes of New Zealand fruit and vegetables a price advantage in Australian supermarkets, and severe inclement weather has the Kiwis checking out bigger horticulture market opportunities across the Tasman.
The weather damaged crops currently most at risk through increased competition include kiwifruit, cherries, tomatoes and sweet potatoes.
Currently approximately 50% of all avocados sold in Australia over summer are imported from New Zealand, with a full year’s imports make up almost 30% of the $430 million Australian retail avocado market.
New Zealand may also soon break into the Australian apple market after winning an international trade dispute over risk of fire blight disease. The nation has worked solidly to establish its reputation as a safe, fresh food garden for the Asia Pacific region, particularly through their “Pure NZ” image campaign.
Australian Food and Grocery Council Chief Executive, Kate Carnell, suspects New Zealand exporters are increasing their export plans to make sure they are ready to assist with replenishment where crop failures in Australia are causing interruptions to produce supplies.
“Despite the inevitable fresh food cost rises and shortages it would be nice for Australian consumers to look out for locally-produced produce and support our famers who’ve had a pretty rotten time with the weather in recent years,” she says.
“It’s in our long term best interests to buy Australian-grown if possible,” Carnell concludes.