AU: ''Sky's the limit for nut production''

As long as levies are handled correctly, the heads of the Australian nut industry believe that the sky is the limit for Australian nut production.
Hazelnut Growers of Australia, Chestnuts Australia Inc and the Australian Walnut Industry Association combined last week to host the inaugural Tri-Nut Conference in Tasmania.

About 120 delegates from across Australia attended the three-day conference at the Tamar Resort, Launceston.

While there were some concerns voiced about levy investments, the resounding mood was generally upbeat across the three industries.

The farmgate value of the Australian chestnut, hazelnut and walnut industries in 2015 exceeded $70 million.

The total combined Australian tree nut industries boast a $1.2 billion worth.

Across the three specific nut industries there are in excess of 500 growers in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia.

Chestnuts Australia Inc (CAI) president Brian Casey told the audience the Australian contribution to world chestnut production, of about 1300 tonnes, might not be big but that's not necessarily a bad thing. 

"Our 1000 tonnes is but a drop in the ocean but that tells me we've got a lot of potential," he said.

He said the industry needs to focus on reducing internal rot in chestnuts to ensure quality.

He also said the executive committee's tasks are increasing and may need better management.

Although confident about future growth, Mr Casey said figures showed net profits have gone down for most growers over the past five to 10 years.

Production levels have remained static for about five years according to Mr Casey.

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