from around the world. We had another excellent meeting with the Almond Board of California who have provided valuable assistance to the ABA as we address the issue of pasteurising product to address consumer health risks. The 2014 INC Congress is to be held in Melbourne and the ABA has been assisting the INC to put together a pre-congress tour that will visit the almond, pistachio and walnut growing regions in the Murray Valley. This will be an opportunity to showcase each of the industry’s capacities to overseas participants in the nut trade. The ABA Board has broken with tradition and has decided to take the Almond Conference to a capital city for the first time. The Stamford Grand at Glenelg being chosen as the venue for the 2013 Conference to be held from the evening of October 29th to the
I recently attended the International Nut Congress in Spain and took the opportunity to look at the research being undertaken by their committed research community. The challenge of growing almonds in Spain is reflected in the statistics. Average production of about 50,000 tonnes, with a range from 35,000 to 60,000 tonnes is being produced by up to 50,000 growers. The Spanish Department of Agriculture statistics list almond plantings at 550,000 hectares but industry advisers believe around 350,000 hectares is a more accurate figure. The difference being that the Department’s figures include very old orchards that have been abandoned. There are modern orchards but on a smaller scale than we are accustomed to. Irrigation of the orchards is the exception and not the common practice. With the olive industry struggling in Europe it was suggested that growers may look to convert their irrigated orchards to almonds. Despite struggling to achieve the yields accepted as normal in Australia and California the Spanish are very progressive in terms of their R&D programs and nursery production. Research into new varieties, rootstocks, tree architecture, high density plantings, harvesting systems and controlled environment storage and dehydration is delivering impressive results. The Congress was attended by over a thousand delegates and gave an opportunity to meet with many participants in our industry
31st. The successful Conference of 2012 had the Barossa Novatel bursting at the seams and it was felt that a larger venue was required and this was not available in any of the producing regions. I would urge everyone to attend our Conference this year which will again have an impressive mix of local and overseas presenters and
provide a blend of valuable information, entertainment and a chance to catch up with others. Neale Bennett Chairman
Australian almonds are sold into 40 countries around the world and will earn close to A$350 million. This year will see 2.5 tonnes of almonds exported for every tonne retained for the Australian market. In a brief few years the Australian almond industry has become export dependent competing for sales across the globe. The challenge to the Australian industry has been to develop markets to keep pace with the rapid expansion of crops as the orchard plantings mature and near full production. This has been successfully achieved based on developing market acceptance in key markets. Support of the Commonwealth Government through Horticulture Australia funding has facilitated a number of market visits, representation at trade shows, and reverse trade visits to inspect Australian orchards and processing facilities to assess firsthand the product quality and capability of the industry. The Australian industry has consistently cleared the increasing production and the record crop of 2013 is mostly forward sold. The lift in the global price in the new year, a record crop with good yields and now the devaluation of the Australian dollar are all movements in the right direction.
Australia’s almond production has grown at prodigious rates in the past few years. In the past two years alone production has increased 75%. The 2013 crop estimated to be 71,600 tonnes will move Australia into second position in terms of production but still far behind the US which based on estimated 2013 crops is 12 times larger. The Australian crop size is well on its way to 90,000 tonnes per annum once the orchards in the ground fully mature. In 2013 alone, the crop tonnage has increased by 20,000 tonnes and the
annual industry crop value has increased to nearly $500 million. Exports alone will reach this value in the near future. Profitably sustaining and absorbing this rapid growth in supply requires considerable commitment of resources to develop domestic and international markets. This is provided by the industry marketers and supported by the ABA programs funded by the marketing levy.