HIGH HOPES FOR HARVEST: Corrine Jasper, left, and Jolyon Burnett (second from right) with Nambucca Valley macadamia growers Charlie Higgins, Paul Tollis, Tony Styles and Hugh HarrisCharlie Higgins says it was a weak moment eleven years ago that saw him move out of beef and “go nuts” in Valla but it was a gamble that has paid off.
Now fully-certified as an organic macadamia grower, Charlie is looking at a 10 to 15 per cent increase on last year’s crop in spite of the dry hot summer.
“We compost and mulch heavily so our trees can go for longer periods without watering,” Charlie said.
Australian Macadamia Society CEO Jolyon Burnett said the industry hadrecorded a bumper harvest for the last three years and was looking forward to yet another.
“The 2017 Australian macadamia crop is forecast to reach 54,000 tonnes in-shell at 10 per centmoisture –this is fourper cent higher than the record 2016 crop,” Jolyon said.
“Farmers are getting good returns and reinvesting in their farms and the yields keep increasing –it is a real testament to the hard work of our members.”
More than 30 local growers gathered in Macksville on Tuesday to hear about the industry’s future, including itslatest marketing strategy.
“Over the last five years our exports to China have gone from zero to 30 per cent of our entire crop …however we do not want tobe too dependent on a singlemarket,” Jolyon said.
“Wewantto break into new markets in theAsia Pacific such as Taiwan and perhaps India. We have the competitive advantage over South Africa here thanks to proximity and our reputation for safe, clean produce.”
He said theindustry was also looking to increase market stability by broadening its base –for example, expanding into the breakfast cerealand snack bar market.
“Until now we havebeen seen as a snack food, but we are gearing up to approach big manufacturers and show them howmacadamias addvalue to their products.”
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