Business North March 2021

58 | Aongatete Avocados HORTICULTURE A ongatete Avocados (AAL) offers orchardists a different approach, focus- ing on searching for the best price for its grower customers, says client liaison Sam Shergold. “Usually fruit just goes to a packhouse for export but we can manage and grow their fruit for them then seek the best market for their fruit. “As a smaller business we can offer a more personal approach and be more responsive to our customers’ needs,” he says. Based in Katikati AAL was started around 15 years ago and is a large-scale independent operator of orchard management, growing, harvesting and packing. Sam says Covid-19 has had little impact on the business as Aongatete Avocados is not reliant on overseas workers instead employ- ing mainly locals. Classified as an essential service, it has largely been business as usual. “Labour has always been a challenge for the horticulture industry and we are already thinking ahead to next season as to how to find the workers we need,” he says. Sam says as the property market is running hot there has been increased demand from people wanting to grow a small avocado or- chard, particularly for lifestyle reasons. But there are also challenges that face the industry with current returns low due to a number of factors including increased com- petition from countries such as Chile, which is now exporting to Australia – a key avocado market for New Zealand. This season Australia experienced a bad fruit set (numbers of avocados on the trees) meaning 86% of New Zealand’s crops were taken across the Tasman with the remainder heading to Asia. Getting the best return for growers AAL is a large-scale independent operator of orchard management, growing, harvesting and packing. T Karen Phelps This means for Aongatete Avocados, as per usual, the focus remains strongly on increas- ing profitability and returns for clients. As avocados are notoriously tricky to grow and fruit numbers hard to predict it is an in- dustry where experience, such as that offered by Aongatete Avocados, counts, says Sam. He says one key Aongatete Avocados has found is to prune annually to increase the probability of a good fruit set. “This ensures growth coming through to promote the best opportunity for trees to fruit,” he says. “We also recognise every orchard has a dif- ferent microclimate so it’s about an accurate assessment, plan and goals to ensure the best results.” This sees Aongatete Avocados liaise with clients regularly to check programmes and confirm plans going forward to assist growers in producing avocados for domestic and export markets. Providing contract pruning, injecting and harvesting services and seasonal avocado packhouse services for the domestic market fruit means the company can offer clients a full service, says Sam. “At Aongatete Avocados we aim to grow healthy crop bearing trees which consistently produce the best yield per hectare. Having good size fruit and even better quality. “We aim to have all orchards producing the best they possibly can to provide the greatest return to the grower for fruit sold. “We specialise in improving orchards that are struggling and making good orchards even better.” “At Aongatete Avocados we aim to grow healthy crop bearing trees which consistently produce the best yield per hectare. Having good size fruit and even better quality.” AAL ARE SUPPLIERS AND EXPERTS IN THE AVOJECT ® SYRINGE. 07 549 1809 | info@aaltd.co.nz The proven low pressure method for effective phytophthora control in avocado trees. The AvoJect ® are high quality syringes that do not degrade in the sun and have a small tip to minimise tree damage. www.avoject.co.nz

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