Nuts about growth po­ten­tial

Tasmanian Country - - NEWS -

HAZEL­NUT pro­duc­tion in Aus­tralia could in­crease by more than 2000 per cent by 2020, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port.

A Ru­ral In­dus­tries Re­search and Devel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion re­port found the Aus­tralian hazel­nut in­dus­try has the po­ten­tial to be val­ued at $400 mil­lion with cur­rent an­nual pro­duc­tion, 170 tonnes, an­tic­i­pated to in­crease to 2000 to 3000 tonnes by 2020.

The re­port found Aus­tralian hazel­nut grow­ers wanted to ex­pand plant­ings and other hor­ti­cul­tural pro­duc­ers wanted to di­ver­sify into new crops.

And Fer­rero Aus­trala­sia, a ma­jor global pro­ces­sor of hazel­nuts, has iden­ti­fied Aus­tralia as a coun­try suitable for hazel­nut pro­duc­tion.

Fer­rero Aus­trala­sia im­ports about 2000 tonnes of raw hazel­nuts to meet lo­cal pro­cess­ing de­mands.

“The Fer­rero group is con­cerned about con­stancy of sup­ply of fresh hazel­nut ker­nel and the po­ten­tial im­pacts this can have on the price of hazel­nuts. Presently, ap­prox­i­mately 70 per cent of hazel­nuts are pro­duced in Turkey,” the re­port said.

“With the aim of di­ver­si­fy­ing pro­duc­tion re­gions and se­cur­ing con­stant, re­li­able hazel­nut sup­ply, the Fer­rero group has iden­ti­fied Aus­tralia as a coun­try suitable for hazel­nut pro­duc­tion.”

In 2011, a large quan­tity of hazel­nut plant­ing ma­te­rial was im­ported from South Amer­ica, po­ten­tially form­ing the ba­sis for large-scale com­mer­cial plant­ings in Aus­tralia.

“This im­port was one of the largest plant im­ports into Aus­tralia. Fol­low­ing clear­ance from quar­an­tine Agri Aus­tralis es­tab­lished a large plan­ta­tion and nurs­ery fa­cil­ity.

“As the pro­duc­tion of hazel­nuts in­creases, the link­ages with a com­pany with an end use of the prod­uct may pro­vide a de­gree of con­fi­dence to po­ten­tial grow­ers.”

In 2012 three trial sites were es­tab­lished in NSW, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Agri Aus­tralis to de­ter­mine if the con­di­tions were suitable for hazel­nuts.

The hazel­nut trees at two sites were re­silient to the ex­treme sum­mer tem­per­a­tures with con­tin­ued growth and high rates of es­tab­lish­ment while those at the third site were also above district growth rates.

The re­port said a strong lo­cal hazel­nut in­dus­try would pro­vide an al­ter­na­tive op­tion for tree-crop pro­duc­ers.

The re­port said viti­cul­tur­ists had ex­pressed in­ter­est in re­plac­ing vine en­ter­prises with hazel­nut or­chards.

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