Australia’s second-largest almond processor has plans to grow its operations further, as demand for the nuts holds firm globally and domestically.Key points:Almondco is based in South Australia and processes almonds from more than 85 per cent of Australia’s growersThe company is currently completing a $25 million upgrade to its Riverland facilities, but has plans to grow its operations furtherThe US has increased its almond production, but Almondco says the Australian market should continue to thriveAlmondco is an almond processor based in South Australia’s Riverland region, which is one of the nut’s major production centres in the country due to its ideal growing conditions and access to water. The processor receives products from more than 85 per cent of the country’s growers and is already upgrading its Renmark plant, following a $28.5 million loan from the South Australian Government. While this upgrade is due to be completed by mid-2021, Almondco said it was already planning to invest further in its sites across the Riverland and New South Wales citing an increase in almond orchards in the Murray-Darling Basin. “The whole industry is in a significant growth phase and Almondco is no different,” Almondco managing director Brenton Woolston said.”So, we’re continually planning for the future. Trees are in the ground across the Murray-Darling Basin.Works on Almondco’s Renmark facility expansion are expected to be completed in the middle of 2021.(ABC Riverland: Sam Bradbrook)Mr Woolston said further expansion was still in the planning phase, but would likely include more projects at the Renmark plant and investment in the company’s Lyrup site, also in the Riverland, and in sites across New South Wales. “We have got floodable land and we’re looking to fill that land with extra infrastructure,” he said.Global nut prices tumbledThe price of almonds has fallen across the world in recent months, but amid the drop, the United States has ramped up its production.The US is the world’s largest almond producer and it planted 31,000 hectares of additional orchards between 2019 and 2020.Australia comes in behind the US, producing the second largest volume of the nut with just 7 per cent in 2019.Mr Woolston said he expected the local almond industry would continue to thrive despite the US expansion. “It’s proven to be a fantastic crop for a long period of time. Almondco itself celebrated 75 years last year and we had a record intake, record company turnover and almond prices were very good,” he said. “Our growers are in it for the long–term, not the short-term.”
As demand for the nuts holds firm globally and domestically, South Australian business Almondco looks to upgrade its sites across the Riverland and New South Wales.