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The macadamia industry

The industry in snapshot

Australia is the world’s major producer of macadamia nuts, the only Australian native food crop that has seen significant commercial development for local and export markets.

This development has been driven by the Australian Macadamia Society, the industry’s peak body in a relatively short period. The first commercial macadamia processing plant was established in 1954 and now there are more than 850 growers across three states, producing around 40,000 tonnes, with 70% of production exported as kernel to the world market.

The main growing region stretches around 1,000 kilometres along Australia’s east coast; from the mid north coast of New South Wales up to Mackay in Queensland and the industry annually brings more than $400 million economic value to local communities.

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The Australian macadamia industry is worth more than $200million anually, with 70% of our crop exported to more than 40 countries.

The industry is expanding rapidly as planting and production increases with production forecasts of 39,000 tonnes in 2013.

The unique flavour, the nutritional benefits and the versatility of the macadamia nut either raw, roasted or in recipes are increasingly being recognized in international markets. Export sales have grown continuously over the last decade with Europe and Japan continuing to grow.

Growing competition comes from South Africa and Central America, but currently macadamias account for less than 3 per cent of the world tree nut market, so with marketing into existing and new markets, there is unlimited potential for Australian macadamias.

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New food product launches using macadamias as an ingredient.
 Source: Datamonitor

An Australian favourite food for generations

‘Kindal Kindal’ was the name given to the seeds of an evergreen tree by local aborigines on the eastern slopes of the Great Dividing Range well before British botanist Walter Hill and German botanist Ferdinand Von Meuller in the 1850s discovered and named the specimens.

A distinction was made between Macadamia integrifolia (smooth shelled) and Macadamia tetraphylla (rough shelled), which also produces a nut that is edible, although not as good for roasting as Macadamia integrifolia. The genus Macadamia was named after a scientist and politician of that time, Dr John MacAdam, who was prominent in encouraging the cultivation of the species.

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  • Quick facts

    • Australia is the world’s leading producer of macadamia nuts
    • We export 70% of our crop to more than 40 countries
    • 850 Aussie macadamia growers
    • Four major macadamia growing regions
    • Six million macadamia trees
    • 40,000 tonnes nut-in-shell per year
    • The Australian macadamia industry is worth more than $200 million annually
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