Venture Taranaki's Branching Out initiative explores Avocado

Avocados: The Taranaki Opportunity

The Venture Taranaki initiative Branching Out is a collaborative exercise to investigate, explore, package, and potentially pilot new commercial opportunities that could add sustainable value to Taranaki’s economy and help the region’s food and fibre sector become more diverse, resilient, innovative and in-demand.

Through the initiative 10-12 high-potential ventures will be identified and analysed for their feasibility.

"In October 2020, we hosted the project’s first in-person event exploring kiwifruit as a high-potential venture. Now we will look at avocado’s potential. Avocados are a proven success story in other parts of the country, so it is worth consideration and further investigation in Taranaki," explains Venture Taranaki Chief Executive Justine Gilliland.

On Wednesday 17 March, from 12.30pm - 2.00pm at the Novotel New Plymouth, Venture Taranaki will host their second Branching Out event; Avocados: The Taranaki Opportunity.

Presenters at the event will include Lynwood Avocado Nursey, a nursery producing healthy pest-free avocado trees, Trevalyans Pack and Cool, New Zealand’s largest single-site avocado and kiwifruit packhouse, and Avoco, New Zealand's largest grower-led avocado exporter.

"We're extending the invite to all Taranaki landowners, potential growers, financial decision-makers, marketers along with agricultural advisers and support services, and food production and processing companies to register and come along," continues Gilliland.

The New Zealand avocado industry is vibrant and growing, with a vision and strategy in place to quadruple sales to $280m per annum and triple productivity by 2023. The Branching Out event will explore what is involved and the unseen complexities of growing this fruit, if Taranaki is to become a larger avocado producing region.

Attendees will hear from experts covering topics from the avocado supply chain, industry support for new growers to packing and export logistics, projected global demand, potential risks and return and first-hand growing experiences.

"Through this event we’re able to present first-hand credible information while busting myths. We can and give potential growers the information they need, and industry connections to support them as they consider the viability of avocado orchards for themselves, here in Taranaki. It is great to demonstrate that a small parcel of land or part of an existing farm can be more profitable through diversification," adds Gilliland.

Branching Out aligns with Taranaki's regional economic development strategy Tapuae Roa and the Taranaki 2050 long-term vision for a low-emissions economy. The programme is managed by Venture Taranaki and a steering group of food and fibre sector stakeholders.

The initiative is funded by Taranaki's three district councils and the Ministry of Primary Industries' Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund, with significant in-kind support from Venture Taranaki, Massey University, Crown Research Institutes, and primary sector/food and fibre industry enterprises.