Thai gourmets have sampled the first directly shipped Australian avocados after a May, 2023 export deal finally came to fruition.
In acknowledging the good news, Australia’s Minister of Agriculture Murray Watt posted a joint ministerial statement. He said that two consignments equal to 6 tonnes were the first to arrive in Thailand before September 12, 2023.
On his part, the Minister of Trade and Tourism, Don Farrell, said that the deal will encourage “our world-class Aussie farmers.”
Initial estimates put the Western Australian avocado export deal at $10 million per year, due to high demand in Thailand.
This comes at a time when Thailand has a burgeoning youthful population that drives demand for the fruit. Amid the slow production of avocados within Thailand, youth under 18 who number 13,382,519 (UNICEF estimate 2023), are surging demand. Overall, 36.85% of the current Thai population is aged below 25 years, a bracket that pushes purchases of healthy fruits.
Beside Australia, Thailand has an existing avocado import deal with New Zealand.
Avocado Price Question within Australia
Since the news of the brokering of the avocado export deal, people have been circumspect on the effect on domestic prices. Would Western Australians pay more for their own Hass avocados as market access abroad opens up?
According to Australia’s Ministry of Agriculture, supplies have been hitherto too high locally, hence the low prices. Easing some of this surplus abroad may open up prices a bit and benefit farmers and the Aussie avocado industry.
The current market price for Australia avocados is between $4.83 and $10, with an average $5.51 per kg.
This cost could potentially change, especially in Western Australia, the source of the avocados now bound for Bangkok.
Thailand remains a beacon of Australia’s agricultural exports. At $2.5 billion in the 2022-23 period, Bangkok ranked 10th of all agricultural export destinations for the Land Down Under.
India takes the Baton
Further afield, India also secured a ticket for Australia’s avocados in March, 2023, with shipments bound for 2024. Aussies peg the Indian market as potentially winning as it is a mixed vegetarian population, with a rising health-conscious middle-class.
So, after a year of domestic oversupply, Australia might recapture its avocado glory via exports to south and southeast Asia.