Australian almonds to hit record production

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Australian almonds to hit record production

After six years of severe drought and harsh weather, Australian almond growers are recuperating some of the lost crop in what seems to be the industry's "biggest growth phase ever", according to Almondco Australia Ltd national sales and liaison manager Tim Jackson. almendro_71445001 panorama

The Australian crop is estimated to have risen from just under 50,000 metric tons (MT) in 2012, to around 70,000MT in 2013, overtaking Spain in production.

"We are now the second largest producer of almonds," Jackson told

The additional supply is the result of major plantings that occurred eight years ago, however strong global consumption of the crop means Australian is falling short of supplying to international markets.

"The global almond demand is growing at about 9% per is growing at around 5% to 6%," Jackson said.

To adapt to these plantinsg, the Almond Board of Australia (ABA) has started a marketing campaign in a bid to find a suitable home for the extra production levels.

"The major new plantings happened seven or eight years ago and the industry has initiated a marketing program, so that when this production came on string, there would be good, strong markets to take the product to," said ABA marketing manager Joseph Ebbage.

Ebbage believed that collaboration and personal relationships between individual growers were key to building strong and diverse export markets.

"We have a commitment in major trade shows that we have a collaborative space - a single space with multiple tables, where all the individual Australian marketers participate," he said.

"I remember chatting with the president of the Almond Board of California and the sharing of information. He was very upfront and said 'anything that helps grow almond consumption is good for us, because there’s an 82% chance that any kernel consumed is Californian'."

He added that the increasing demand for the crop is a considerable incentive for California to work together with Australian growers.

"Yes we compete with California on an individual level, but there is potential to take a long-term view.

"The overarching conviction that both the Californians and we have, is that there is a significant upside in global almond consumption."

Jackson described the relationship between Australia and California as complementary, emphasizing the considerable awareness of almonds made by the Californian marketers, assisted Australian growers in expanding their export markets.

"California has a fantastic marketing campaign that they roll out right across the globe. While they have the grant in the volume to supply a lot of the markets, Australian almonds have developed its own niche market for providing a high quality product," he said.

He added that the higher-quality product met the demand of some markets, sometimes during periods that were counterseasonal to California.

"Because in some markets we are counterseasonal with the U.S., we have very strong demand in the sub-continent and throughout Asia and the Middle East.

"Events such as Diwali and Ramadan are falling counterseasonally to the U.S. crop, so our fresher almonds are certainly in strong demand during those periods."

He said the fact Australia could sell its almonds well in India was indicative of a high quality value proposition.

"Almonds are a traditional part of the Indian diet and they’re very, very discerning buyers," he said.

"To sell almonds into India, when we’ve competing with the strongest indication that we’ve got a good value proposition in terms of quality," Ebbage added.

Accounting for the future

According to Ross Skinner, the CEO of Almond Board of Australia, production levels were expected to stabilize after peaking in 2015 to 2016.

"With the plantings that happened and when they reach maturity, we think we’ll top around the 90,000MT mark in 2015 and 2016," Skinner said.

"We have curtailed our plants so we’re expecting to see a slight plateau with production, but we’re not expecting it to drop in demand."

He said while the demand for the crop continued to grow, there was little incentive for people to invest in horticulture.

"The industry went through a massive growth when there were tax advantages in the manage investment schemes. That's no longer necessarily there."

Ebbage said the industry's challenge was to continue collaborating with current markets and discover new export partners, by adapting its marketing strategy.

"The world of communicating and marketing is becoming increasingly noisier. To make our voice heard requires commitment to innovation in marketing and communications," he said.




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