India remains a cornerstone of Australia’s almond export trade, while sales into South East Asia are rising at a rapid rate.
Figures released by the Almond Board of Australia (ABA) this week revealed total export sales over the 2016/17 season (ending 28 February) reached A$464m, a marginal 1 per cent decline on the 2015/16 campaign. A total 58,963 tonnes were sent offshore in 2016/17 from an overall Australian crop of 82,333 tonnes.
South/Central Asian markets accounted for 25 per cent of the total export trade, generating A$116m in sales revenue. Trade to India alone was valued at A$113m, while sales into Pakistan grew a remarkable 1,863 per cent year-on-year to A$2.3m, albeit off a low base.
“India remained Australia’s largest export market with a preference for in-shell product that they mostly crack by hand to produce near perfect kernel that is popular for gift giving as well as every day consumption,” ABA said in a release.
Sales into Indonesia surged 195 per cent to A$3.4m on the back of market research programmes in this country, while trade into Vietnam was valued at A$23.4m. The value of trade to all South East Asian countries grew 85 per cent to A$44.7m.
Direct sales to the Chinese mainland climbed 189 per cent to A$2.5m. The fact this was achieved on the back of just 317 tonnes of almonds (257 tonnes kernel) suggests there is room for Australian suppliers to grow their possition in the world’s largest market by population.
Over 1,880 tonnes were shipped to Hong Kong (A$12.2m), most of which was likely on-traded to neighbouring markets, while revenues from sales to Japan and South Korea were down on the previous season.
Overall shipments to Asia (excluding India) accounted for around 13 per cent of total Australian almond exports in 2016/17, while European countries received around 43 per cent of the export crop. Spain (11,904 tonnes, A$83.9m) and Germany (4,609 tonnes, A$42m) were the leading markets in Europe.
Trade into the Middle East accounted for around 6.9 per cent (A$32m), while the Americas (A$26.2m) and Africa (8.1m) made up 5.7 per cent and 1.7 per cent respectively.
ABA chief executive Ross Skinner praised the preparedness of the industry’s marketers to work collaboratively in identifying ways to develop export markets and fund promotional activities via a voluntary marketing levy.
“The Australian almond industry invests over A$2m annually building demand in established and emerging markets by undertaking activities developed and guided by representatives of the five major marketing companies,” Skinner explained.
“During the past year, the industry marketers and our market development manager have been present at the major food trade events in Europe and throughout Asia to develop trade contacts from the many buyers who visit the Australian almond industry stand and to also meet with established customers.”