Article by: Hari Yellina (Orchard Tech)
While some horticulture industries are having one of the most challenging harvests with workforce shortages and heavy tariffs, one sector continues to go from strength to strength. Almond production is booming now with around 123,000 tonnes expected to be harvested in Australia this year — the largest on record. With 80 per cent of the world’s almonds coming from California, Australian almonds are proving their place in the market. With every tonne of almonds sold in Australia, three tonnes are exported to around 50 countries.
With the harvest due to start any week now, Mr Skinner said the mechanical process of producing almonds, as well as the demand for the product at home and overseas, had meant the industry had avoided major hurdles that they were currently facing other horticultural industries from COVID-19 movement restrictions. Chief executive of Almond Board Australia, Ross Skinner, said the projected 10 per cent increase in harvest this year was due to the second wave of expansion from plantings in 2016.
[The record harvest] is mainly based on the increased planting coming into production. They have increased our planting over the past five years, and those trees are starting to mature into much larger trees and bearing much more crops. The fallout with China that resulted in heavy tariffs on barley and wine is not something that is expected to be a concern for almonds. Much of the 2020 crop was pre-sold before the issue with trade relations with China emerged so we were confident that those contracts would be honoured and that has been the case. All indicators show that the relationship will remain strong, and we have been fortunate that we have alternate markets if things turn sour, but at this stage, things look promising.