Australian macadamia industry’s premier event is coming

MORE than 400 delegates, including the biggest ever international contingent, are lining up to attend the Australian macadamia industry's premier event, the 2016 Australian Macadamia Industry Conference, which kicks off in Bundaberg today and then goes to The Caloundra Events Centre and surrounding region for three days next week (18-20 October).

The event will focus on the opportunities for investment and expansion in this burgeoning industry and attendees include an eclectic mix of existing macadamia growers, new and potential growers and investors and a large international contingent from China, Vietnam, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Hawaii, Ghana, Thailand and New Zealand, all keen to learn more about what the future holds for the booming Australian macadamia industry.

The industry's peak body, the Australian Macadamia Society (AMS) is staging the conference, with support from platinum partner Horticulture Innovation Australia, and AMS CEO Jolyon Burnett says it's a must-attend event because it's such an exciting time to be in the industry.

"Australian macadamias are one of the hottest investments in Australian agriculture right now. Strong prices, yield (we're on track for a record crop this year), and global demand outweighing supply are matched by unprecedented levels of investment in productivity by growers," says Mr. Burnett.

"We've got new growing regions opening up, conversion from other crops to macadamias, substantial new plantings, new nurseries establishing to meet demand, and there are still so many more opportunities for individuals and investors to move into this industry.

"Investment in macadamias is certainly an attractive proposition - you're investing in premium food production, in some of the most iconic locations in Australia (e.g. the Byron and Noosa hinterlands), and the market is booming."

Mr. Burnet said the industry is attracting new investment from outside the industry, while established growers are also investing millions into expanding. Five-time large grower of the year Col Dorey (part of the award winning Dorey family) diversified from sugar cane to macadamias 26 years ago and never looked back hailing the decision "the best decision we ever made."

"Macadamias are still the best investment I know of," said Col. He and his five brothers are currently planting another 100 hectares of macadamias, while other large growers are planning similar expansion further north in Bundaberg and surrounding regions (Bundaberg will become the largest growing region in Australia this year).
Mr. Burnett said Australia leads the world in the research and development and marketing of macadamias, and the international community is keen to learn from the world's best. He said no other industry assists new entrants as much as the macadamia industry.

"The long term prospects are good, there is huge potential for future growth (macadamias represent only currently 1% of the tree nut market) and we are an export-focussed industry (70 per cent of our crop is sold in five markets)."

To this end, the conference will feature some of the industry's top experts talking about how they see the future of the industry unfolding, with topics focussing on 'International Macadamia Production Growth', 'The Orchard of the Future', 'A new Look at Investing in the Macadamia Industry' and 'Chinese Investment in Australian Macadamias.'

Finance journalist Alan Kohler will set the scene with his keynote address 'Business and Industry Growth' and iconic Japanese brand Meiji Co. Ltd. is sending over its managing executive officer Mr. Kazuo Kishida to present 'Innovation in the Consumer World for Macadamias'. As well, insights will be gained from innovation in other industries (American pistachio and Australian almond) and there'll be specific information sessions aimed at new and potential growers.

"The conference is about helping existing growers to understand what they can do to increase the value of their orchard and add value to their asset, and potential growers and investors to understand the opportunities that exist to convert modest assets into long term high growth assets."

Mr. Burnett said the AMS is looking forward to bring this premier event to Queensland and to one of Australia's iconic macadamia growing regions.

"The macadamia industry is an important part of the Sunshine Coast's burgeoning agribusiness sector, Mount Bauple has been widely acknowledged as the ancestral home of the macadamia nut, and our world-leading breeding program is housed at Nambour's Maroochy Research Facility, so it is only fitting that we hold our 2016 conference in a destination that provides an inspiring and relevant environment for our participants."

The conference kicks off with a 3-day international tour (from Bundaberg to the Sunshine Coast) taking in Australia's best macadamia orchards and industry assets including processing facilities. There's a machinery day on a local Beerwah macadamia orchard (with demonstrations by over 20 machinery and on-farm suppliers), two full days of conference sessions at the Events Centre, Caloundra, a full-day shopping and hinterland tour, cocktail reception at the Queensland Air Museum and 'celebrity chef' breakfast with Matt Golinski and Glen Barratt.

The conference is by far the biggest event on the macadamia industry calendar and connects representatives all the way along the supply chain - growers, processors, researchers, marketers, investors, trade representatives and international industry bodies.

The full conference program is available on the conference website: www.bit.ly/ausmac2016



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