With improved farming and marketing practices, it seems the sky will be the limit for Australia's $200 million a year peanut industry.
The potential to double the size of Australia's peanut industry and to build upon the success of peanut butter in the 'Buy Australian' campaign was the clear message delivered to growers and farm advisers at the Peanut Industry Update 2000, held at Kingaroy recently.
Participants heard that although top growers are obtaining high yields with returns rivalling cotton, many growers are settling for much less. A current research project aims to close the gap between current and potential yields, and is reported elsewhere on this page.
The Queensland Department of Primary Industries organised the Peanut Industry Update with the support of growers and the Federal Government through the GRDG. The Update is one of the annual series of GRDC-initiated Research Updates organised to help keep growers and farm advisers up to date with technological advances flowing from grains research.
Businessman, adventurer and entrepreneur Dick Smith, whose 'Buy Australian' campaign has done wonders for the national profile of peanut butter, encouraged growers to keep communicating that they grow the best peanuts in the world.
In the face of a domestic food manufacture and processing industry heavily dominated by foreign
ownership, Dick Smith reported that the Australian-owned peanut butter marketed under his name has now gained 20 per cent of the market through just one crunchy and one smooth line.
"We've had total sales of $35 million in nine months and $10.8 million of that came from our peanut butter, which tastes good, is competitively priced, and has the positive asset of being nationally recognised as coming from Australian farms."
A further plus for the peanut industry is that Kraft, which has a 60 per cent share of the Australia's market, uses Australian peanuts in its peanut butter.
Readers might like to contemplate Dick Smith's figures on foreign ownership percentage of favourite Australian food products.
Peanut butter manufacture is still 80 per cent foreign-owned. This now compares favourably to other products including jam (82 per cent), tomato sauce (84 per cent), gravy mix (87 per cent), processed cheese (88 per cent), biscuits (91 per cent), jelly including Aeroplane Jelly (93 per cent), yeast extract including Vegemite (98 per cent), and baby food (100 per cent).
Program 2.4.1 Contact: Mr Greg Mills 07 4160 0700