June 20, 2014

$70 million investment

to kick-start the NSW hazelnut industry

The planting of more than one million hazelnut trees has started on a new $70 million investment near Narrandera, NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, announced earlier this month. The trees are being planted on a new 2,000-hectare farm owned by Agri Australis Pty Ltd, which is an Australian subsidiary of global confectionary giant, the Ferrero Group.

“This investment will not only directly create up to 50 permanent jobs and more than 50 seasonal jobs; it will indirectly provide a welcome boost to the Narrandera economy and will boost the NSW hazelnut industry,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

Currently Australia only produces about 80 tonnes of hazelnuts annually and imports more than 2,000 tonnes. Once this farm is fully operational, it is expected it will generate some 5,000 tonnes of hazelnuts and has the potential, with the contribution of local growers, to enable the NSW industry to meet a production target of 10,000 tonnes in the medium term.

Agri Australis aims to set up the Narrandera farm as a large demonstration site to show other farmers and investors the potential of hazelnut cultivation.

“The important news for farmers in NSW is that they have the opportunity to follow the lead of the Ferrero Group to consider hazelnuts as an option to help increase diversification and provide a new income stream,” said Ms Hodgkinson. The trees are expected to take about four years to grow, and the farm should reach full production capability by 2022.

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