Major milestone for Australian macadamia growers

Major milestone for Australian macadamia growers article image

The humble Macadamia – Australia’s iconic native nut – celebrated 40 years of commercial growing when the new season began in May this year.  

Macadamia nuts are the only native Australian crop to be developed and traded internationally as a commercial food product, with exports continuing to boom.  

Jolyon Burnett, CEO of the Australian Macadamia Society, said the last 40 years have seen a tremendous growth within the industry.  

Australia continues to lead the world in production and export, accounting for more than 30 per cent of the world’s crop.  

“From humble beginnings, we now have around 750 growers who produce around 40,000 tonnes of nuts-in-shell each year,” said Mr Burnett.  

About 70 per cent of the total crop is exported to more than 40 countries worldwide.  

“Over the past two decades, planting has expanded five-fold and a third of the six million macadamias trees our growers are cultivating have yet to reach full production so the future is bright,” Mr Burnett said.  

Best quality  

The industry is currently worth $200 million annually at the factory gate and $320 million retail, employs thousands of people and contributes millions of dollars to regional economies.  

“The phenomenal success of our industry is all thanks to our talented growers who are passionate about innovation, quality and sustainability and constantly invest in research and development to produce the best quality, best tasting macadamias from their natural home.”  

Macadamias first evolved on the north east coast of Australia more than 60,000 years ago, growing naturally in the Australian rainforest.  

They were regarded by the Aboriginal people as something very special and were often traded between tribes and used as special ceremonial gifts at inter-tribal corroborees.  

Founding father  

While the first plantation was established in the 1880s, it wasn’t until the development of successful grafting techniques and the introduction of mechanical processing that commercial production of the tough nut became feasible.  News_Milestone for macadamia growers4

Macadamia enthusiast Norm Gerber pioneered the grafting techniques that enabled the development of our commercial industry. He is widely regarded as the founding father of the Australian macadamia industry.  

Macadamias are predominantly grown in the Northern Rivers region of NSW and southern and central Queensland, with smaller plantings in Western Australia and far north Queensland.  

Blossoming begins in September with harvest taking place from February to August each year.  

The Australian Macadamia Society, the industry body for growers, was first established in 1974.


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