A number of dairy farms in New Zealand are being turned into 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 top producer of avocados in the world, however, more countries are stepping up to produce the fruit. New Zealand currently only counts for one percent of global production, but with more farmers selling their land to grow the crop, this could be set to increase.
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. “Yet there are new dairy farms being built 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.