Walnuts Australia, the country’s largest grower, producer and exporter of walnuts, is the Agribusiness Award winner for 2013.
The walnut industry in Australia is expanding: Australian walnuts have the advantage of being counter-seasonal for markets in the northern hemisphere and can therefore command premium prices.
Walnuts Australia manages more than 700,000 walnut trees in Tasmania and the Riverina district of New South Wales. The company runs an efficient, vertically integrated operation which includes production, processing, sales and marketing, and there is a strong emphasis on exporting.
During the 2012-13 financial year, 83 per cent of the Walnut Australia’s sales came from exports, which topped $13.3 million – a 38 per cent increase over the year before. Markets included countries in the European Union, North Asia, and the Middle East.
A fully-owned subsidiary of Webster Limited, Walnuts Australia is now two years into a four year capital expenditure program to establish new on-farm infrastructure in line with projected business growth and to ensure a seamless supply chain from orchard to market. Last year, walnut drying capacity was doubled with a significant investment in new equipment.
The Australian Export Award judges made the point that Walnuts Australia is a good example of a company moving from commodity trader to marketer and starting to build a brand for their quality product.
The judges also commented that in a specialised niche market such as walnuts, a clear focus on strategy needs to be combined with an understanding of how to conservatively manage and grow the business. Walnuts Australia has achieved this, the judges noted, and continues to grow.
For more information about Walnuts Australia, go to www.walnutsaustralia.com.au