Bendotti Avocado – exporting avocados to Japan
As Australian avocado volumes continue to grow over the next 5 -10 years the development of export markets will become increasingly important to maintain profitability in the industry. It is expected that production will reach about 170,000 tonnes by 2026, more than double the production from last year. Fortunately, there is a growing demand for avocados internationally. This is especially so in Asia, particularly in Japan.
Only Hass avocados from officially recognised areas free of Queensland fruit fly – Western Australia, the Riverland region in South Australia (excluding the Renmark West suspension area) and Tasmania – can be exported to Japan. And for those growers/packers who go through the process of seeking accreditation and adopting the Japan protocol the rewards can mean a foot in the door to a new market.
An ‘export to Japan workshop’ held in Manjimup, in Western Australia in June 2021, attracted a great deal of interest and a number of applications for accreditation were received from both growers and packhouses.
In 2018 Western Australia gained market access to Japan. One Western Australian avocado grower and packer that has taken the initiative and achieved accreditation to export to Japan is Bendotti Avocado. Bendotti Avocado has been accredited since 2019 and they are early adopters of the export to Japan protocol program.
Bendotti Avocado are avocado growers and packers, their packing shed is run by Joe Bendotti with help from his sons Trevor and Shane. They pack their own avocados and for local growers around the South-West region and sell to buyers all over Australia. They chose to undertake the accreditation process because they decided that they would strive to combat the forth coming increase in domestic supply by exploring export markets.
“We decided that it was better to get established as an exporter now so we can have the option to export significant amounts of fruit into the future,” said Trevor Bendotti.
“In our first real year of exporting we were sending a container every 10 days. Though it was not a huge quantity of fruit we realised if they took a liking to our fruit it will help increase future demand.”
“Initially we had no volume figure in mind, we just wanted to establish the process and procedures and we have been learning through trial and error.”
Trevor Bendotti says it has been a learning process. They are establishing a good relationship with their buyer. In turn their buyer is building confidence with their product and as confidence grows Bendotti Avocado will then begin to send more significant volumes of fruit.
“This is our third year of being accredited to export to Japan.”
Exporters can now utilize a new online registration tool as part of the certification process.
“In adopting the protocol, the most important thing is attention to detail, labelling has to be perfect in order to avoid rejection.”
“We wanted to get into the position of being confident with the process, and we are slowly achieving this through some hard lessons, but it has all been worth it.”
Bendotti Avocado’s first shipment left in August 2021.
“We have sent half a dozen consignments now and we use our own custom pallets.”
“Our planning started back in February and was in great detail however one thing we didn’t plan for was the Corona virus still to be having such a significant effect on the world’s transportation availability.”
Trevor Bendotti said they had all the sizes and prices sorted before they sent a piece of fruit. As any corrective actions popped-up they dealt with it and learned valuable lessons in the process.
The process for adopting the protocol for a grower is straight forward according to Trevor. Importance is placed on record keeping, traceability and orchard hygiene. The fruit must be in a hard green condition.
“The fruit going to Japan needs to have lower than normal dry matter so therefore is harvested before the domestic supply is harvested.”
For the packer the emphasis is on keeping the fruit (destined for Japan) separate from all other fruit.
“We are fortunate to have additional storage onsite, so we have enough storage to cater for this.”
The controlled atmosphere containers are monitored throughout the export process. Care is taken to ensure that the netting stays in gaps, that the correct seals are used and the correct labelling.
“Our controlled atmosphere containers get tested every time they are used.”
At the time of writing this article Bendotti Avocados was waiting for their consignments to arrive. They currently have three controlled atmosphere containers “on the water” the second container is to arrive by the end of October.
So what does Trevor think of the overall process so far?
“We are feeling positive.”
“We are fortunate to have negotiated a good price for the fruit, a price that is currently better than the domestic price,” adds Trevor Bendotti.
Avocado growers and packers interested in exporting fruit to Japan for 2022 are welcome to get in touch with Avocados Australia’s Export Development Manager, Flora Zhang, email email@example.com or call 07 3846 6566.
The Avocado market access and trade development project (AV20004) has been funded by Hort Innovation, using the avocado research and development levy, and contributions from the Australian Government.
This article was produced for the Spring 2021 edition of Talking Avocados.
Date Published: 26/11/2021