Industry going nuts over Bundy
AUSTRALIAN Macadamia Society dignitaries identified Bundaberg as a crucial player in the future of the national industry during a visit to the region last week.
The society held a board meeting in Bundaberg and toured the new Pacific Gold processing facility.
AMS chief executive officer Jolyon Burnett said local growers were told of their role in strengthening the national industry on the global marketplace and meeting an increased consumer demand.
International demand for the Australian native nut has outstripped supply.
Mr Burnett said Bundaberg, Australia's fastest-growing macadamia region, would play a crucial role in meeting the increased demand and ensuring macadamias held their place on the global market.
"Macadamia's aren't a staple like bread or milk. They're a premium product," Mr Burnett said.
"The fear is that if growing demand is not met, manufacturers will switch to other products like peanuts and cashews.
"Bundaberg is an asset to the national industry in ensuring that doesn't happen."
Recent projections suggest Bundaberg will outstrip the Australian industry's traditional heartland of the Far North Coast region of New South Wales by 2016.
At the moment it accounts for about 22% of the Australian industry's total haul.
There are 1.8 million macadamia trees in the Bundaberg region, with a third in full production, a third coming into production or in the early stages of production, and a further third yet to reach maturity.
When the young plantings come into full production Bundaberg is expected to surpass southern regions in production.
The new Pacific Gold macadamia processing facility has been built to accommodate this predicted growth and has the capacity to process 15,000 tonnes of nut in shell each year.