Australia’s tree nut industry has solidified its position as Australia’s most profitable horticultural export sector, generating A$1.2bn at the farm gate and over A$1bn in export earnings over 2015.
Upon announcing the results, Australian Nut Industry Council chairman Jolyon Burnett said the exponential growth was being driven by high nut prices and increasing global demand from health-conscious consumers.
“With our crops being counter-seasonal to the northern hemisphere nut producing nations, Australia offers the freshest nuts for six months of the year,” Burnett explained. “This, combined with the high quality of Australian nuts places us in a prime position to capitalise on growing demand.”
With at least 4.5m new trees to be planted over the next three years, Burnett said the tree nut industry was looking forward to even more growth. “These trees will be close to full production by 2020, further driving the volume of Australian tree nuts available for sale,” Burnett noted.
This next phase of expansion is not without its challenges, according to Burnett. In an attempt to remain globally competitive, the industry is investing in research into advanced production systems and ways to bolster consumer education programmes.
“Australia has a spent a decade pursuing world’s best practices and technologies and nurturing a culture of innovation,” Burnett said. “We now have to take that forward with innovative research and advanced holistic orchard management. This includes genetics, dwarfing varieties, robotics and mechanisation and managing climate variability.”