Avo shortage hits as prices soar to $7

Avocado shortage hits the MIA as prices soar


Horticulture
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It's the stuff nightmares are made of - avocados are expensive and in short supply in Murray Irrigation Area.

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IT IS official – the avocado shortage has hit the MIA and now the world as we know it may as well be over. 

Sound slightly over dramatic? Not if you’re a year-round avocado lover. 

A global shortage of the fruit (yes, it’s not a vegetable) has hit our shelves and menus in restaurants and cafes throughout the Riverina. 

The humble avocado is currently selling for $7 each in some supermarkets and perhaps aren’t the quality consumers are used to. 

Last year, avocados were in the news a lot after millionaire Tim Gurner told Millennials their fondness for the expensive fruit was stopping them from buying a house.  

Most of the produce is now being imported to Australia, but the good news is, Queensland’s crop should soon be coming in, which should drive prices down. 

Hotel Leeton head chef Rory Walker hasn’t been exempt from the avocado shortage. 

“They are expensive … I can be getting for about $7 each at the moment, normally they are around the $2 or $3 mark,” he said. 

“We can get imported ones for about $2 but the quality is very average. 

“We use avocados heaps.”

The chef believes the rise in popularity of avocados in recent times has been due to Aussies, and indeed Leeton residents, wanting to watch their waist lines. 

“They are high in protein, heaps of good omegas in them,” Mr Walker said. 

“For the healthy lovers, avocados are the way to go. It’s full of good fats.”

Avocados feature in several meals on Hotel Leeton’s restaurants menu, including a prawn and avocado salad, which typically “walks out the door”.

“We’ve had to have it without the avocado recently, which a few people haven’t been too happy about,” Mr Walker said. 

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“There’s not much we can do about it at the moment. 

“Hopefully the Queensland crop is good and the prices start to come down.”

In Sydney, some cafes have taken drastic measures during the current shortage. 

Some cafes have reportedly been forced to introduce surcharges or take it off the menu until prices settle down.

The good news for avocado lovers and chefs alike is the price surge is due to a temporary seasonal supply issue, with volumes expected to be meeting demand again by the end of February.

Avocados Australia chief executive John Tyas said there was usually a slight shortage this time of year as the supply of Hass avocados from Western Australia and New Zealand dwindles before the Shepard avocado season kicks fully into gear in north Queensland.

Both Western Australia and New Zealand have had a lower crop year than usual, which has compounded the seasonal supply problem.

Avocado producers have struggled to keep up with demand for the beloved fruit, especially in recent years.

About a third of the 2 million trees in the ground across Australia have not yet reached full production capacity, but producers are planting "a couple of hundred thousand trees per year" to fix that.

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