With both the Australian and Californian Almond Boards visiting India prior to Gulfoods, it provided an opportunity for the Chairs and Executive staff to meet and discuss issues of mutual interest, such as Indian food safety standards, permissible fumigants, import certificates, tariffs and trade agreements. It enabled the ABA to meet for the first time with the ABC Chair, Mike Mason and hold further discussions with Richard Waycott and Julie Adams (President and Vice President) of the Californian Board. Present at the meeting was Slava Zeman, Counsellor Agriculture at the Australian High Commission and Alan Mustard, US Department of Agriculture Minister Counsellor at the US Embassy. It was noted at this meeting that since the discussions held mid 2011 with Mr Gaur, CEO of the Food Safety Standards Authority India, that his commitment to address the delays in processing imported almonds had led to a much improved situation. The marketing situation for the new Australian crop is showing positive signs. A key will be the size of the Californian tree yields following their large crop in 2011. The current bloom and set in California will be major determinants of this. A further factor impacting heavily on returns to Australian producers is the high Australian dollar is been well above parity with its US counterpart. The Australian almond industry has no control over the factors noted above, but endeavours during the year to ensure the best possible quality product is presented on export markets is pleasing. The ABA’s efforts in obtaining emergency and minor use permits for needed chemicals, providing training for improved spray and irrigation application, and providing information for the control of pests and diseases has assisted this. During the past year the domestic consumption of almonds has risen 9%, which is a good result. In the coming months, keep an eye out for the marketing levy funded new season promotions appearing in print media and in stores. Good luck for the remainder of harvest.
The Australian almond industry trade stand was a standout among the thousand or more companies displaying their products occupying three booths. Our stand had representation from all the large Australian marketers, as well as ABA Marketing Program Manager, Joseph Ebbage. The inquiry about Australian almonds was very strong throughout the four day event, with many existing and new customers stopping to discuss the outlook for the current crop. Below: 1. Hon Louise Asher, Joseph Ebbag & Ross Skinner at the Australian Almond stand, Gulfood 2012 2. Australian Almond Update Forum, Dubai 3. The Australian Almond stand, Gulfood 2012
The 2012 harvest is in full swing and reports to date indicate excellent quality with large nuts following good growing conditions during the year. All production areas have reported average yields across the varieties apart from Carmel which is down following strong crop last year. During the recent visit to India and at the Australian update forum at the Gulfoods trade fair in Dubai, the ABA delegation stressed the much better growing conditions experienced in 2011-12 compared to the previous two years. These conditions have resulted in larger nuts with, no staining of the shell on the tree and light kernel colour on product processed to date. The response of the traders to the return of normal quality for Australian product was very positive, although it was noted that only a minor proportion of the crop had been harvested at that time. The advice that Australia was also researching methods to minimise the impact on quality from poor weather for future seasons was also welcomed. Gulfoods is a key promotional event for the Australian almond industry, with many key traders from India and the Middle East attending. This year a large trade delegation from Victoria attended, led by the Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business, and Minister for Tourism and Major Events, The Hon. Louise Asher. The Victorian Government funded a dedicated meeting room at the Dubai World Trade Centre enabling the ABA and other primary industry bodies such as Dairy Australia to conduct forums showcasing their products and industry to those interested. Approximately 50 delegates attended the session to learn about the Australian industry’s productive capacity, market development, export availability and receive an update on the current season’s activity. This attendance was pleasing and was similar in size to the recent Conference held in Delhi by the Almond Board of California.