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Australia’s almond industry is booming and South Australia is central to driving its export growth

ALMONDS are booming along the banks of the River Murray as the industry swells its market share as the world’s second largest exporter.

“At the moment there’s great profitability in growing almonds and when people are investing in horticulture they want to see that there’s great demand,” the Riverland-based chief of the Almond Board of Australia, Ross Skinner, says.

“That’s occurring here in the Australian market but also globally.”

As the number of orchards planted nationally explodes, South Australia is established at its epicentre.

Latest figures soon to be released by the almond board show there’s been a 15.8 per cent increase in orchards planted across the nation in 2016, to now total 35,886 hectares.

And South Australia is home to 20 per cent of plantings that are mainly in the Riverland where the industry’s national board recently moved into the new Loxton Research Centre.

The board’s annual Almond Insights report projects that plantings would swell even further to 50,000 hectares nationally in the next few years after last year’s export crop alone pulled in $464 million.

Mr Skinner believes it is only the beginning as huge potential beckons domestically and overseas particularly in the power house export markets of China and India.

At the moment, there’s a vast gap between the United States’ lion share of 80 per cent of the global market and Australia’s humble seven per cent.

Yet America’s heavy investment in marketing and in growing the world market to double its size in the past decade means Australian industry can ride on its export coat tails.

“The American industry is such a dominant player, they are prepared to invest heavily in market development, they invest something like US $75 million in developing market share around the world every year,” Mr Skinner said.

It means there’s more pie to share and Australia is committed to grasping a larger piece as its own new investments get underway.

When the national almond board…

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