Australian avocado farmers have been forced to dump their fruits and they are blaming major retailers for the waste.
Australian farmers are being forced to dump avocados and are blaming major retailers for the waste, claiming retailers buying tonnes of the fruit from overseas rather than using Australian avos.
Tonnes of the fruit are being dumped in pits and left to rot in Western Australia.
Grower Vic Grozotis said it is particularly disappointing as the fruit are expensive to produce.
“We‘ve had to dig a hole to bury a lot of the avocados we can’t sell,“ he told the ABC.
“To have to dump fruit which had a commercial return last year and has a zero return this year has a big impact on farmer’s bottom line and some farmers are losing money.”
Lockdowns in Sydney and Melbourne have affected the market but Mr Grozotis said the major supermarkets have been more of a factor in hampering the domestic industry.
“Twenty per cent of fruit that‘s being sold in Australia is imported, and that could be sourced from Western Australia,” he said.
A major chain told news.com.au the “vast majority” of avocados on its shelves were Aussie grown.
“Industry has told our supermarkets that there would be more than adequate production from Australian produce, but they seem to have ignored that. We need to get retailers on board selling 100 per cent Australian fruit, particularly in Queensland. They are denying Australian consumers the option to purchase Australian fruit.”
Avocado Australia boss John Tyas said last month growers are just trying to weather the storm.
A Woolworths spokeswoman said a range of factored impacted the current growing season, and only a small amount of produce was brought in from overseas in case of emergencies.
“The vast majority of avocados we stock are Australian grown, and we‘ve been pleased to work with local growers to help our customers enjoy this season’s top quality harvest,” she said.
“Each season we work closely with our suppliers to ensure we’re offering this household favourite consistently to our customers and to minimise any potential impacts from unexpected weather in key growing regions.
“This includes sourcing a smaller volume of avocados from New Zealand to supplement the local crop, as many retailers do.”
Australian grown avocados are clearly stickered in Woolworths supermarkets. News.com.au also contacted Coles, IGA and Aldi.
The situation comes after the nation upped its avocado intake in recent years, with people dining out on everything from smashed avocado on toast, to guacamole, and avocado ice cream.
Research firm Hort Innovations says Australian avocado production had doubled in a decade as people expand their orchards. In 2020-21 the sector was worth $845 million on a retail basis.
Coles and Woolworths were both contacted and asked what percentage of the avocados were grown in Australia. Neither responded by the time of publishing.