Increasing awareness around fruit theft
We’re having an exciting start to the New Zealand avocado season with a very well attended media launch in Auckland and lots of media attention – both good and bad.
Nadia Lim and Dr Nic Gill helped us share some great nutrition messages at the season launch and our audience shared it wonderfully well across their social media. The new research we had showed that New Zealand grown avocados contain double the amount of vitamin B6 and 20% more folate that avocados grown in other countries. Just another reason to love the amazing avocado.
Soon after that media published a story about the poor conditions in Mexico for growing avocados and we had to let New Zealanders know that only New Zealand grown avocados are available in New Zealand. This surprises many consumers. We have found through instore tastings and social media that consumers seem to assume avocados are imported. We created a great little video that’s available on our website to share that great story.
Following this was a renewed interest in media from New Zealand and Australia about a different and challenging topic – fruit theft.
NZ Avocado has been working with the New Zealand Police in recent seasons to increase awareness of the issue of avocado theft in communities where avocados are grown, and with fruit and vegetable shop owners that we know are often targeted by traders of stolen avocados.
Police have shown great support for the avocado industry having received nine reported thefts in Western Bay of Plenty between May and July. They have been proactively visiting fruit and vegetable stores across Bay of Plenty, Waikato and South Auckland to educate shop owners on the consequences of avocado theft.
Growers are passionate about their avocados and their orchards. This is their livelihood and they are often living on the orchard, so it’s their home that is being violated. Avocado growers are needing to secure their property with high fences with barbed wire, security gates and upgraded security systems, some more fundamental than others. This goes very contrary to how we as New Zealanders expect to live, feeling safe and secure in our own homes.
We strongly support the police message that business owners receiving and selling stolen avocados need to give thought to the avocado business owner whose livelihood they are destroying. If a shop owner knowingly purchases stolen avocados, they could be charged with receiving stolen
property, which carries a maximum imprisonment of seven years.
Offenders stealing avocados can be charged with burglary and face a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment.
In July, NZ Avocado worked with the New Zealand police media team to develop a news release targeted at educating fruit shop owners.
Following the resulting media enquiry from nationwide news services, NZ Avocado facilitated the filming of a Newshub television news segment involving Sergeant Trevor Brown of Western Bay Police, Tauranga green grocer David Stewart and avocado growers Robin Hanvey and Maxine Graham. The segment was shown on nationwide television news.
Just this week we have had enquiries from Fairfax Media, The Guardian UK, The AM Show, ABC Radio Melbourne, ABC Radio Perth, Newstalk ZB, Radio NZ, and by the time you read this we would have wrapped up filming with Seven Sharp.
Dave Flett, a Bay of Plenty grower and a NZAGA & AIC Board member, has recently joined the Police & Rural Stakeholders Partnership as an avocado representative.
The Police & Rural Stakeholders Partnership promotes a collaborative approach between rural communities and the police to raise visibility for agriculture crime and reduce issues for farmers and growers.
Not only do the growers suffer. Avocados stolen from properties are often too immature to ever ripen properly. The consumer gets a poor eating experience. They may have been sprayed recently, without the consumer being aware.The consumer gets a potentially dangerous eating experience. The problem exists not only for affected growers but also avocado loving New Zealanders who buy stolen fruit. As a consumer, always ask where your avocados come from. Our avocados have a good supply chain and the seller of avocados should be able to tell you where the avocados came from. It is hoped that pro-active education of store owners and the public will help make it more difficult for the traders of stolen avocados to sell stolen fruit.
The message from the police to store owners is “Support orchardists, your fellow business owners, and don’t purchase these stolen avocados. If we work together, we can combat this issue.”
Zespri chairman Peter McBride said the high yields and late start to the New Zealand season meant lower pertray returns for Zespri Green but continued strong perhectare returns for the Green business.
“A particular highlight was the performance of Sun Gold which saw a sharp increase in both volume and per-tray returns – up 39% to $98,838 per hectare and 5% per tray to $8.64.”
The annual meeting reported on Zespri’s financial year to March 31, covering the performance of New Zealand kiwifruit sold in the 2016 season with sales running from April to November each year and Zespri’s counter-seasonal Northern Hemisphere season with fruit sold from October to March. Most of Zespri’s fruit is from New Zealand and the company also sources fruit from Italy, France, Korea and Japan to supply key retail customers with Zespri-branded fruit all year round.
Here in New Zealand, Zespri runs four product pools to supply the market: Zespri Green, Zespri Green Organic, Zespri Gold and Zespri Sweet Green.
ZESPRI’S NORTHERN HEMISPHERE SUPPLY
Mr McBride outlined to shareholders the growth in Zespri Global Supply, Zespri’s 12-month business.
“Volumes in this business grew from 14.5 million trays to 16.6 million trays for the reported season with sales in this business growing from $183.6 million in 2015/16 to $215.6 million in the reported period with contributing operating profit growing from $10.4 million to $11.9 million. A highlight was the strong gold growth of 46 percent from the previous season (from 3.6 million trays in 2015/16 to 5.3 million trays) and the extra 1,800 hectares of Sun Gold licence to be allocated in Europe over the next five years will see European volumes quadruple over the next five years.”
Zespri chief executive Lain Jager explained Zespri’s corporate income comes from four main revenue streams.
Net profit after tax more than doubled from $35.8 million to $73.7 million, due mainly to the $67.2 million in licence revenue from the New Zealand SunGold tender in 2016.
Official resolutions from the meeting including elections for the Zespri board and the director remuneration board, along with approving the annual accounts and appointing the auditor.
More significantly Mr McBride spoke about a special general meeting planned for March next year where Zespri will seek shareholder approval for constitutional changes to align shareholding more closely with production following the recently announced changes to the Kiwifruit Export Regulations.
Lain Jager says the industry is in good heart. “Strong returns and confidence are underpinning strong orchard values in the sector and Zespri is focused on delivering value for growers by investing to grow demand around the world.”