Almond boom: Record sales as Sunraysia growers crack world markets

THE Australian almond industry – with its heartland in Sunraysia – has smashed its own record for monthly sales and broken the $100 million barrier for the first time.
Nanjing Night Net

Orchards for next year’s crop are on the verge of flowering, and the industry has blossomed with increased demand from overseas markets after years of drought and limited water supply at home.

Newly signed free trade agreements, a drought in California and the worldwide consumer appeal of health foods have helped the demand for one of Sunraysia’s key crops grow exponentially.

According to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, $118 million worth of Australian almonds were exported overseas in June, out-stripping the previous $90 million­ export record set in May.

The industry was forecast to record export sales of 55,000 tonnes worth more than $600 million this year.

This year’s June sales figure was 75 per cent greater than last June’s, while the year to June export figure of $318 million was $79 million more than at the same time last year.

Almonds were sold at an average price of $11.55/kg for the first half of this year.

More than 60 per cent of the country’s almond production originates in Sunraysia, with plantations spanning the district from Cullulleraine to Boundary Bend.

Almond Board of Australia chief executive Ross Skinner said a falling Australian dollar had helped exporters maximise their sales.

A drought in the world’s premier almond producing region, California, had also worked in favour of Australian growers, with the average export price increasing from about $5 to more than $11 over the past three years.

India has been the largest overseas market for Australian almonds, while the industry expected recently signed free trade agreements with China, Japan and Korea would also benefit growers.

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