Larry McHugh CEO Marquis Macadamias CREDIT Paul Harris

Chief executive Marquis Macadamias, Larry McHugh. Image credit: Paul Harris

Australian macadamia growers working together in a co-operative have announced they are expanding their joint operations in Queensland, creating 40 new jobs.

Marquis Macadamias is a leading macadamia processor, and its Bundaberg facility is a vertically integrated growing, processing and wholesaling co-operative.

The co-operative sources crop from a total of 180 shareholding growers and 170 non-shareholder growers throughout Australia.

Marquis Macadamias chief executive Larry McHugh (pictured) said the company’s expansion plans for its Bundaberg facility will boost employment and ensure future product demands can be met.

“With our facility currently operating at close to maximum capacity, this project will mean we’re ready to support future demands and grow and create long-term, stable jobs in Bundaberg,” said McHugh.

Queensland treasurer and minister for investment Cameron Dick announced Marquis Macadamias will receive support through the state government’s A$175m Jobs and Regional Growth Fund. The funding will help Marquis increase its processing capacity by 25 per cent.

“Global appetite for our macadamias is huge, and Marquis’ A$13.3m expansion will ensure local growers can take a bigger bite of export opportunities,” said Dick.

“Industries such as agriculture and food manufacturing proved to be our state’s economic bedrock during the Covid-19 pandemic. Investments like this will ensure our economy’s recovery continues on its strong upward trajectory.

“This project will take Marquis’ annual processing capacity from 12,000 to 30,000 tonnes, allowing them to get more Queensland macadamias onto shelves and into households across the world,” added Dick.

As part of the expansion, Marquis will build a new cold storage warehouse, specialised bulk drying and packing facilities, and a solar farm to generate power for their operations.

“This doesn’t just help Marquis Macadamias either, it’s of benefit to the hundreds of Aussie growers who Marquis work with to get supply,” said Dick.

Chief executive of the business council of co-operatives and mutuals, Melina Morrison welcomed the announcement.

“Co-operatives in Australia and across the world have led value driven food production,” said Morrison. “Co-operative business is key to the effort to grow a successful, sustainable and domestically owned manufacturing sector. We’d like to see more cases of Government supporting small producers to work together to grow existing medium-sized firms and create new ones.”