Agri Australis, a subsidiary of Italian Nutella producer Ferrero Rocher, is developing a 2,000ha hazelnut plantation in Australia’s Riverina region.
The plantation will be the first in the area, with more than one million trees being planted as part of a A$70m project.
“Currently Australia only produces about 80 tonnes of hazelnuts annually and imports more than 2000 tonnes,” said NSW minister for primary industries Katrina Hodgkinson, in a statement released Tuesday.
“Once this farm is fully operational, it is expected it will generate some 5000 tonnes of hazelnuts and has the potential, with the contribution of local growers, to enable the NSW industry to meet a production target of 10,000 tonnes in the medium term.”
Hodginson said the plantation would reach full capacity by 2022, when the trees are fully matured, creating 50 permanent jobs as well as seasonal work. “This investment has the potential to kick start a productive industry in NSW, which could become a $200m export business for Australia.”
Australia currently imports the majority of its hazelnuts from Turkey and Italy, but the Australian Nut Industry Council forecasts the overall value of the country’s tree nut exports to reach A$1bn by 2020.