Ensuring almond market access through quality assurance (AL06006)
This is a final research report from Hort Innovation’s historical archives. Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.
What was it all about?
The Australian almond industry grew rapidly during the previous decade from producing less than 10,000 tonnes in 2002 to an expected crop of 60,000 tonnes in 2012 and nearly 90,000 tonnes by 2017. With the domestic market taking 15,000 tonnes the export of Australian almonds was a key to the industry’s continuing profitability. The Australian almond was naturally a very good quality product but the industry was striving to develop a reputation for high product integrity.
This required a consistent product free from pest, physical, chemical and microbial contaminants. Effective quality assurance (QA) practices across the almond industry supply chain were developed. Continuous improvement was being practiced as the QA systems were implemented or further developed.
In 2008, the Almond Board of Australia initiated an industry-wide pesticide residue monitoring program conducted annually with the National Residue Survey. The results were reported annually and the ABA demonstrated to export markets that Australian producers and processors were using good agricultural practices.
The project reviewed the detection levels of known quality risks during production and processing and alerted the industry to emerging threats. The project had also developed chemical use diaries, delivery dockets noting moisture contents, a network of calibrated moisture meters, and an industry agreed audit checklist.
The Almond Industry Pest & Disease Control Guide was first produced in 2007/08 and updated in 2009/10 and in 2010/11 to ensure the inclusion of accurate and up-to-date information.
The ABA in partnership with Plant Health Australia (PHA) released an Orchard Biosecurity Manual for the Almond Industry. The manual was designed to assist growers protect their orchards from invasive pests using simple, yet effective, preventative strategies. Good biosecurity was essential to ensuring market access and the ABA maintained a monitoring brief in this area and organised industry training to be better placed to manage a biosecurity incursion.
The project also undertook a review of factors involved in the commercial production of almond planting material from importation (seed, budwood and pollen) to distribution of budwood, seed and grafted trees. The project identified the strengths and weaknesses of propagule multiplication in the Australian almond industry that led to the development of product certification scheme for almonds planting material.
The project oversight had been undertaken by the ABA marketing, processing and production subcommittees and the uptake of the project outputs had been driven through the ABA industry development staff. The close involvement of the industry processors and marketers enabled the early adoption of the project results.
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This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) with the financial support of Almond Board of Australia (ABA).
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