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Growers Help your business grow News and media Benchmarking program builds business for Australian avocados

Benchmarking program builds business for Australian avocados

Publication date: 4 April 2023

A new $1.48 million project, Avocado Industry Benchmarking 2022-2027 (AV22004), will deliver a five-year benchmarking program for the avocado industry. The project will support growers and the industry to make informed business management decisions and facilitate on-farm best practices through financial and production insights.

The project has three key aims that are reflective of the Avocado SIP 2022-2026:

  • Develop and adapt a benchmarking tool for Australian avocado growers.
  • Establish key benchmark performance metrics and drivers of best practice performance.
  • Enable and foster an inquisitive business culture of continuous improvement.

What is benchmarking, and how can it assist the Australian avocado industry?

Benchmarking involves the collation and analysis of data and business information to compare business processes and performance within the industry and, in turn, support the identification of best practices. This allows growers to gain a better understanding of their current position and identify opportunities for improvements.

Developing a benchmarking program for the industry fosters a culture that values the use of data to measure performance and inform decisions. Subsequently, this allows growers to formulate a holistic perspective of business management. A simplistic comparison of one farm to another is not a comprehensive approach to direct change or investment. It needs more sophistication to identify why certain practices are more effective.

Within the avocado industry, growing produce involves an understanding of the management of:

  • Physical resources such as land and water.
  • Production systems such as the mix of crops, varieties, operating costs, marketing, technology, and crop management.
  • Human resources such as family labour, permanent employees, picking labour and contractors.
  • Capital items such as debt management and depreciation.
  • Off-farm interests.

In turn, business profitability depends on the combined performance of these items, and benchmarking can assist growers in identifying what areas require change.

Why does the Australian avocado industry need a benchmarking program?

The avocado industry has experienced significant growth over the past decade, with the value of avocado production, also referred to as the farm gate value, reaching $364m in FY 2021/22, with volume more than doubling over the last 10 years. Most avocados consumed in Australia are produced domestically, with production reaching 122,197 tonnes in 2021/22 compared to 54,877 tonnes nine years prior.

To further paint the industry's landscape, avocados are grown across Australia, which means they are available all year round due to the climatic differences across the growing regions. Increased production has created a competitive market for growers, making benchmarking an essential tool to maximise profitability by identifying best practices that improve business management.

How will this benchmarking program be executed and communicated?

The program will engage directly with growers, across eight identified avocado growing regions nationwide. Depending on the regions size and number of growers, the target number of growers per region is six to 12.  

The eight growing regions are:

  • North Queensland
  • Central Queensland
  • Sunshine Coast
  • South Queensland
  • Tamborine Northern Rivers
  • Central New South Wales
  • Tristate
  • Western Australia

The data collected will be non-identifiable to ensure growers' privacy is protected. The project team will use established communication channels to share the data with the industry once it has been collated and analysed.

If you are an Australian avocado grower and would like to participate in this project, please fill out this expression of interest: