The Nut Industry in Australia
The Australian tree nut industry is rapidly expanding. Additional production from new tree nut orchards will generate an industry approaching $1 billion farm gate value by 2020. Exports will rise to $750 million per annum.
The long lead times from planting to bearing have hidden this expansion from production and export statistics to date. With the level of production now becoming significant however, it is time to ensure that maximum market opportunities are available for this emerging sector of Australian Agriculture.
This imminant expansion in production has important policy implications. Nuts need to continue to figure in policy directions and government decisions, particularly in the area of trade negotiations given the substantial export capacity.
Nuts are efficient users of water with a high dollar return for each megalitre of water used. A dogged focus on managing climate, the high level of skills and ability of growers and the relative freedom from disease gives the Australian nut industry an advantage over its international competitors. (Australian Nut Industry Council 2011)
Australia with its diverse landscape and climate range is well suited to growing a wide range of tree and ground nuts. The warmer and tropical areas of Queensland and New South wales are ideally suited to the cultivation of pistachios, pecans and peanuts.
The areas of north-eastern South Australia, northern Victoria and southern New South Wales with their combination of hot and cold weather lend themselves to the cultivation of almonds and pistachios.
Chestnuts, hazlenuts and walnuts do best in temperate areas and are not recommended for subtropic areas as a commercial crop. They can however be worthwhile to grow for the home orchardist. It is recommended you consult your local nursery as to the suitability of your location.
Macadamia crop – Courtesy of Richard Llewellyn
Australia produces enough almonds, pecans, macadamias and chestnuts to supply the national market. Hazelnuts, peanuts, walnuts and pistachios are cultivated in Australia on a commercial scale, but are also imported. Cashews and pine nuts are not cultivated in Australia on a commercial scale and Brazil nuts are fully imported.
Australian Nut Production
Current Australian nut production is expected to have a value of $725 million from the 2012 season. This represents a 50% increase in the last 5 years. Despite an expanding domestic market, most of that new production will be exported. Exports are projected to be valued at about $750 million by 2020. (Australian Nut industry Council 2011)
Expected Australian Nut Production and Value 2011 – (Figures from ANIC)
|Area Planted (ha)||Production (tonnes)||Value ($ million)||Export Surplus Value ($m)|
A large number of organisations are responsible for supporting and assisting the nut industry. Key organisations identified with strong links to the nut industry are as follows:
- Government Departments of “Agriculture/Primary Industries”
- Peak Bodies
- Key Organisations
- Research Organisations
• Peanut Company of Australia (formally Peanut Marketing Board)
• Grains Research and Development Corporation (Peanuts)
New South Wales
Australian Nut industry Council (ANIC)
Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL)
Further details on HAL are available on the Horticulture Australia Limited website.
Plant Health Australia (PHA)
Plant Health Australia is the national coordinator of the government-industry partnership for plant biosecurity in Australia. As a not-for-profit company, PHA services the needs of Members and independently advocate on behalf of the national plant biosecurity system.
The objectives for which PHA is established are to:
Nut industry is represented on the Plant Health Australia Board by the Australian Nut Industry Council, the Almond Board of Australia, the Australian Macadamia Society and the Australian Walnut Industry Association.
For information on PHA see the Plant Health Australia website
Nuts for Life
Nuts for Life aims to provide useful, accurate and up-to-date information on the nutritional importance of tree nuts in the diet. The website comprises recent reports, research, newsletters, fact sheets and nutrient composition tables. The nutrition team at Nuts for Life is committed to providing nutrition information that is based on sound science.
Nuts for Life is facilitated by Horticulture Australia Limited in partnership with the Australian tree nut industry since May 2003. It is funded by voluntary contributions from the industry.
For information about the nutrition and health benefits of tree nuts visit the Nuts for Life website.