Home' Grower : March 2012 Contents By PETER BRADY
AUSTRALIA'S almond industry
has 'hoisted the flag' last month
at the international Gulf Foods
trade show in Dubai.
Select Har vests, Almondco and Nut
Producers Australia joined the Almond
Board of Australia to promote quality
products to Middle Eastern and global
And while their presence followed the
general format of similar events, they
were keeping a close eye on major
competitors, such as the United States, to
seek any price advantages.
Trading manager for Select Har vests
Laurence Van Driel, who has 20 years
experience in edible nuts and dried fruits,
says volumes in the Middle East -- the
original 'home' of almonds -- were not
large enough to cope with demand.
"Buyers have different needs and
requirements," he said. "You may pick up
another customer, but really it's about
spreading the word, showing potential
buyers that your product is better than
"It's good to look at the markets and
formulate how well traders have covered
themselves. This show was important
because a lot of Californians were there,
and while they are in bloom, we are
har vesting so they're conscious of price
Select Har vests, based at Robinvale,
Victoria, is the world's second largest
manager of almond orchards with
responsibilities extending to over 13,765
hectares in the region.
Its orchards are across three states with
developments near Robinvale, orchards in
the Riverina district of New South Wales
and a new greenfield development in the
Dandaragan Plateau, Western Australia.
Chief executive officer of Nut Producers
Australia Grant Birrell says the Riverland
company uses Gulf Foods to network in
the Middle East and understand the needs
of various regions there.
"Australian almonds have a fabulous
reputation for quality, but finding markets
has got many angles to it," he said.
"The Almond Board, under whose
banner we attend the event, has
developed a number of processes ... to
support objective marketing."
Almondco group general manager Brenton
Woolston, who was presented with the
Regional Exporter of the Year award at the
49th Australian Exports Awards for 2011, also
attended Gulf Foods. The Renmark
company processes 13,000 tonnes of
quality Australian almonds annually -- about
about 30 per cent of Australia's har vest.
Almondco has well established export
markets in the United Kingdom, Western
Europe, India, Japan, Middle East and New
Zealand. It is developing markets in South
East Asia, Eastern Europe and China.
The South Australian Grower -- March 2012
Almond reps hoist
flag at Gulf Foods
Bees slaughtered in
SPRAYDRIFT from a neighbouring property killed
90 per cent of apiarist Darren Thompson's bees
on a Riverland orchard in October last year.
"When you've been nursing bees throughout the
year to build them up to full strength, well, it's
gut-wrenching," he said.
More than three months later, affected hives --
still at half-strength -- were struggling to fully
recover. Mr Thompson says more than 100,000
bees from 80 hives died, including all of the
juvenile bees. "The bees were actively foraging
when the chemical was applied and the bees
would have brought that back to the hive," he
said. "As bees start grooming itself back in the
hive, the chemical can be spread from bee to bee.
One affected bee can kill 10 bees. It has a domino
Despite thousands of dollars in losses through
reduced honey production and time to rebuild
hive numbers, Mr Thompson was reluctant to
consider legal action.
"Beekeepers work hand-in-hand with growers,
so I really didn't want to go down that track," he
said. Instead, Mr Thompson hopes to raise
awareness about the vulnerability of bees and the
importance of growers and landowners checking
with neighbours before embarking on a spraying
program with insecticide.
"Bees forage within a radius of 3 kilometres for
pollen and the day is the time for maximum bee
activity and flight, so that is the time they are
most at risk of getting sprayed," he said.
"Growers have to be aware any spray activity
can cause a mass die-out in the hive. All bees are
affected. They get caught in the crossfire.
"And as the wild population goes down,
producers will be more reliant on commercial
Source: Fruit Growers Victoria
Promotion of quality products to
Companies keep close eye on major
Almond board supports objective
AT A GLANCE
Almondco group general manager
Brenton Woolston attended Gulf Foods.
Photo: Nick Clayton
Select Harvests' Laurence Van Driel says
buyers have different needs and
requirements. "You may pick up another
customer, but really it's about spreading
the word," he said.
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