(Updated October 25, 2019). Dairy farms in New Zealand are becoming avocado orchards.
According to Fresh Plaza, Georgina Tui and Mate Covich — dairy farmers in the far north of the country — have sold their land to avocado orchard developers. The pair follow in the footsteps of three other dairy farms in the Aupouri Peninsula, which were also sold for avocado orchard development.
Jen Scoular, the chief executive of NZ Avocado, notes that the New Zealand climate and soil is ideal for growing avocados. There are 3800 productive hectares growing the popular fruit in the country, with a further 1000 on the horizon over the next three years, she told Fresh Plaza.
“We are comfortable that there is a global demand for the increased plantings and are happy to see continued investment in avocados,” she said.
Rising Demand for Avocados
Around the world, demand is rising for avocados. The tasty fruit is high in nutrients, with numerous reported health benefits.
Mexico is currently the world’s top producer of avocados. But more countries are stepping up to produce the fruit. New Zealand accounts for just one percent of the world’s avocado production.
Dairy Farming in New Zealand
New Zealand is known for its dairy farms, with more than 4.8 million dairy cows present in the country in 2018. This is roughly the same number of cows as people.
The environmental impact of the industry is significant. Combined with livestock, dairy production makes up 50 percent of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions. In October, international environmental organization Greenpeace urged New Zealand’s government to ban new dairy farms.
“There are already too many cows for our waterways to cope with,” said Greenpeace freshwater campaigner Gen Troop. Still, new dairy farms are popping up, “and existing farms are still adding more cows.”
Greenpeace’s petition to ban new dairy farms had nearly 50,000 signatures toward the end of last year.
As demand for dairy decreases in New Zealand, demand for dairy-free options increase. Leading supermarket chain Countdown recently reported that vegan cheese sales in the island nation increased by more than 300 percent.