Nut funds axed after poor year
A FORMER Bundaberg-based macadamia development officer has posed fears for the local industry after funding for his position was scrapped.
Patrick Logue has parted ways with the Australian Macadamia Society and will start a new role at Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers.
His position was terminated as AMS continues to battle lower than expected nut hauls after an unusually wet harvest season.
Mr Logue has raised concerns about the organisation’s northern interests, fearing a lack of hands-on contact with local growers will cause fragmentation of the industry and hamper productivity.
Bundaberg is tipped to contribute about 40% of the nation’s nut production by 2020 but Mr Logue fears his departure will have a negative impact on the local industry.
“It’s going to cause fragmentation of the northern regions from the industry as a whole and I think it could lead to a period of downturn and less activity,” he said.
“Having a go-to man, somebody on the ground, has been beneficial and I think it’s important.”
Australian Macadamia Society CEO Jolyon Burnett said the disappointing harvest had hampered the organisation’s research and development program, forcing considerable belt tightening.
“When crops fall short, you need to ensure all money spent has a tangible financial benefit,” he said.
“Right now, the society needs to focus on things that are market driven.
“Local growers face unique challenges.”