New partnership keeps macadamia nut rolling

THE Australian macadamia business is cracking ahead with new figures revealing the industry was worth more than $217 million at the farm gate last year, up from $110 million in 2013.

With the Northern Rivers playing a crucial role in that upsurge - the trees are grown mostly in northern New South Wales and south-eastern Queensland - the Australian Macadamia Society and North Coast Local Land Services have entered a new partnership to keep the nut rolling.

The Lismore-based AMS will draw on the NCLLS's research through funding from the Federal Government's national Landcare program, the NSW Government's Catchment Action scheme and landholder rates paid by growers.

NCLLS North Coast general manager Bruce Brown said the agreement would help the industry with research and development and marketing.

"Partnerships with organisations such as the Australian Macadamia Society help us understand the factors that are driving change across the industry and how these drivers interact to provide future opportunities for macadamia industry growth and sustainability," he said.

"The macadamia industry is certainly one of the cornerstones of the agricultural economy on the North Coast."

The organisation said value-adding by Australian processors added a further $70 million to last year's $217 million farm gate takings.

Export earnings topped $200 million, making macadamias one the country's top five horticultural exports.

In NSW the industry was worth $120 million at the farm gate and earned more than $100 million in exports. -ARM NEWSDESK