For the first time, almond crops are being trialled in the Northern Territory of Australia. Growers hope Central Australia will become a commercial producer of the in-demand health food, as there is a booming market for almond products.
It is still too early to determine whether the trial trees will produce enough fruit to be commercially viable. The NT Department of Primary Industry (DPI) has planted around 100 trees across four locations in the Red Centre.
DPI regional director Stuart Smith said the trial aimed to see if Central Australia could make the most of a booming market for almonds and almond-based products. "The world demand for almonds has shot up enormously in the past 20 years," he said. "The production areas in California experienced a big drought, so supply went down [and] in Australia the almond industry has boomed — it's one of our major exports now.”
"We thought, 'Is there a possibility that we can get onto that wave of opportunity as well', and that's why we've initiated this trial."
Despite the potential challenges of transporting products long distances to major population centres, Mr Smith believed there could be a market for Red Centre almonds. "Sometimes these things can be a niche product that supplies a local market or a special market, or they might have special characteristics.”