Nuts over macadamia shortage
THINGS are going well in the macadamia nut industry, if only they had enough macadamias.
With world demand growing and market expansion plans in progress, Gympie’s Suncoast Gold CEO Jim Twentyman said a weather-related downturn in supply was creating an increasingly difficult situation.
Hopefully good rain so far this year may change that, he said.
“In the past three years, the Australian crop has been weather-affected in one way or another,” he said.
“While the overall trend in production has been to increase, the Australian crop has dropped a little in the past three years.
“Last year, we actually processed a record crop but that was helped by carry-over stock and a few new suppliers who got us through.
“This year, the crop is down from about 7000 tonnes to 5000 tonnes.
“The Gympie area is not as bad but in Australia it is probably down 60 per cent.
“No-one exactly knows why.
“We had a very dry period from June to December last year, with virtually no rain.
“We had a reasonably good flowering but the nut set was terrible.
“This year is stacking up a lot better, with rain in August and flowers everywhere. The issue for us is that we’re going to run out of nuts to get us through to next season.
“We’re seeing a scramble for the last skerrick of kernel,” he said.
“It’s hard to develop new customers and business if we can’t really supply them.
“We have a lot of young trees in Queensland, especially around Bundaberg and nearby and a lot of confidence in the long term growth of the industry.
“But three years of supply declines is a major problem.
“Supplies are right now extraordinarily short around the world and prices are firming because of short supplies. We’re hoping for a lower Australian dollar so our prices are more competitive,” he said.