News 16 June 2016
Author: Marisa Lee

Avocados becoming the next big thing on the black market

Author Marisa Lee
16 June 2016

It’s not often you can compare Avocados to organs or forced labour… A recent surge in the international demand for avocados has begun a wave of crime and thefts in New Zealand, forming a – erm -black market for the fruit.

This year so far there have been nearly 40 large-scale thefts from avocado orchards on the North Island, with as many as 350 avocados being stolen each time. After a low harvest in 2015, avocados are going for around £2-3 across New Zealand. An additional 96,000 households started buying the fruit last year, making the problem even worse.

There has been reports of people driving utility vehicles into orchards, stealing the fruits and filling up the entire tray of the truck. Growers have been finding duvets and blankets in their orchards, filled with tonnes of fruits that thieves were picking before they were interrupted.

Police Sergeant Aaron Fraser of Waihi said there’s been “spates” of avocado thefts throughout his career but nothing to the level of the current criminal activity.

Avocado producers have now installed alarm systems and automatic lights to prevent thieves getting to their stocks.